Tritrichomonas in cats is a new infection that is starting to surface in the United States and is gaining strength in Europe as well as in the UK.
It is an extremely nasty infection that can cause your cats anus to become inflamed and very painful, and if it is severe enough it can result in fecal incontinence.
Fecal incontinence is the inability or your cat to control the passage of gas or stools through their anus.
Although Tritrichomonas can affect cats of all ages and breeds, it seems to be showing a very strong preference to young cats and kittens.
In the majority of cases, it is occurring in cats less than one year of age.
However, there are some very strange characteristics that are starting to surface with this infection and what breed it actually attacks.
In the United States it seems to be affecting Abyssinian, Bengal, and Siamese breeds.
However in Europe it seems to be favoring Ragdolls, British Short Hairs, Maine Coons, and Bengals.
There is some documentation that this infection is now appearing in over thirty percent of all cats with severe diarrhea.
Tritrichomonas foetus is a single cell microscopic flagellated protozoan parasite that has up until very recently been a major infection in cattle.
With cattle, this parasite has affected the reproductive functions and has been the major cause of infertility, abortion, and endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue to the lining of the uterus is moved somewhere else in the body, causing infertility.
This infection has virtually been eliminated in Europe as well as the UK by artificial insemination and was thought to be eliminated, until its sudden attack against the feline population.
Although none of these symptoms have surfaced in cats, there is some growing concern that it may also start to affect the fertility process, but that has not been documented or confirmed.
There is also some growing concern that this infection can be transmitted to humans and it will be extremely important to use very stringent hygiene precautions when dealing with the discharge.
Tritrichomonas in cats is so new that although there are some experimental treatments, they are primary just that; experiments.
Nothing has been produced yet that can effectively treat this infection other than some test cases.
Most of the affected cats have been rescued from animal shelters, breed in pedigree colonies, or are from multiple feline households.
It is for this reason that the current belief is that this infection is spread only by close contact with another infected cat and not by another species or by any type of contamination to food or water supplies.
If you rescue a cat, it might be wise to have them checked for this infection.
The symptoms of Tritrichomonas in cats are obviously diarrhea, but it is not just a normal form of diarrhea, as it will produce colitis and cannot be stopped by normal medications.
Colitis is also known as large bowel diarrhea, which is especially dangerous to your cat.
Along with the increased frequency of bowel movements, the first real symptoms that your cat will show with this new strain of infection will be a combination of both liquid feces as well as semi-formed feces.
But there are other symptoms that you can watch for with Tritrichomonas in cats.
Blood in not uncommon with severe diarrhea, but it is usually dried blood, not fresh blood. With this infection, you will see fresh blood in your cats stools. Along with this, you may also see mucus.
Mucus in stools is usually the result of a tumor growth, some type of polyp, or a parasite infection.
You will not be able to see the parasites with the naked up, but they are in the mucus and will show up in a colonic biopsy.
But there are two other very uncommon symptoms that will notice with Tritrichomonas in cats.
This diarrhea can be so severe that it causes your cats anus, which is the lower end of the alimentary canal, to become extremely inflamed.
When this occurs, your cat may suddenly develop incontinence. This is extremely rare in young cats and usually only occurs in very ill or older cats.
Cats with severe diarrhea will almost always lose weight as a result.
But again, this infection is very odd as most cats do not lose any significant weight, even with persistent and severe cases.
Testing for Tritrichomonas in cats at this time is not anywhere near as widespread or detailed as it should be.
There are still a large number of veterinarians that are not reacting to this growing threat to the feline community.
If your cat has symptoms of diarrhea and it is prolonged and has not been eliminated by any means of normal treatments, you need to insist that your cat is tested for this parasite infection.
Since this disease is so new and appears to be growing so rapidly, there is finally some research that is starting.
Treatment for Tritrichomonas in cats at the current time is virtually nonexistent or extremely experimental as well as controversial.
There was a recent study conducted by Dr. Jody Gookin at North Carolina State University, and is considered as one of the leading experts on this growing infection in cats.
She identified two antibiotics that may help to treat this infection.
They are tinadazole and ronidazole, but it appears initially that ronidazole is much more effective; however, there are a couple of drawbacks to this drug.
It is not licensed currently for cats and can and should only be used with extreme caution as well as a written release of consent of the owner understanding the potential complications.
Any time you have to sign a release like this, you need to approach it with extreme caution.
So what exactly are the potential complications?
There appears to be a small number of cats that have developed neurological problems that are very similar to kittens or young cats that have liver disease and are given metronidazole, another similar antibiotic.
There have been documented cases when treated with this medication; they have developed twitching or seizures that have ranged from mild to severe.
However, ronidazole does appear to be the only available treatment at this time for this very wicked infection that can cause incontinence in a kitten or a young cat.
Tritrichomonas in cats is a rapidly growing concern among not only veterinarians that are familiar with it, but also to any owner who has a cat that seems to have chronic diarrhea.
If your cat has this condition and nothing seems to be effective, the chances are very high that they have Tritrichomonas.