But when it not only didn't clear up but started spreading to other cats in the foster homes, they realized they had something serious on their hands. Some of the cats were constantly smeared with loose stool, and none of the tests their veterinarian ran revealed any problems.
What was going on? It turned out to be tritrichomonas foetus, a protozoan parasite that is notoriously hard to diagnose. It's also difficult to treat, although it will often resolve within two years on its own. Still, that's a long time for cats waiting to be adopted. Additionally, those cats may experience the symptoms again when under stress.
Veterinary internal medicine specialist Dr. Jody Gookin, a professor at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Dave Dybas have authored "An owners guide to diagnosis and treatment of feline T. foetus infection," a comprehensive overview of recognizing, diagnosing and treating this condition.
It offers valuable information on obtaining the best possible results from diagnostic testing, as well as information for veterinarians on treating this tough-to-control parasite.
It also contains some good news: Unlike giardia, which it closely resembles, T. foetus cannot encapsulate in the environment, and thus its spread is easier to control using the simple tips included in the article.
Currently, the document is available in PDF format at this link. Dr. Gookin told Maddie's InstituteSM that if the article is ever moved from that location, our readers will be able to find it by navigating from her website at JodyGookin.com.
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