One-celled nuisance

By Connie Orcutt • Published: May 1st, 2013
Category: Animal Airwaves

Cats in close quarters are at risk of infection by a tiny parasite with a big name: Tritrichomonas foetus [TRI-trick-a-moan-us FĒ-tus]. This one-celled nuisance causes some big digestive problems.

Smelly diarrhea is the primary clinical sign, but some cats also strain and have inflamed bottoms. Parasites passed in the stool infect other cats that lick their paws or fur after contacting contaminated surfaces. Kittens are most vulnerable, but cats of any age can be infected. Some adult cats carry and shed the parasite without showing clinical signs for years or at all, while others suffer chronically from diarrhea.

If your kitty has long-term digestive woes, your veterinarian can help with diagnosis and treatment. You can work on blocking the infectious cycle by frequently cleaning and disinfecting litter boxes as well as vetting and quarantining new cats.