A riddle in cats — ScienceDaily

Over the past two decades, the protozoan Fetus Tritrichomonas has become a cause of chronic colitis in cats in many countries around the world. Today, trichomoniasis is considered one of the most common infectious causes of diarrhea in the large intestine. Affected cats are usually young (median age 1 year) and maintain good health and body condition, but exhibit increasing and decreasing diarrhea. Characteristically, feces have a “cow’s pie” consistency and often contain mucus and/or blood. In many cats, diarrhea goes away on its own without treatment after several months, but in some cases it continues to wax and wane for many years.

The guilty, T. fetus, a teardrop-shaped flagellate, very mobile, transmitted from cat to cat by the fecal-oral route; cats acquired from catteries and breeding shelters are at increased risk of infection, as dense housing conditions favor this route of transmission. T. fetus also infects livestock, in which it is sexually transmitted and a potential cause of abortion and infertility. The economic impact of the disease on the cattle industry worldwide has spawned a rapidly developing area of ​​trichomonas research. Frustratingly for veterinarians, however, the more one learns about trichomoniasis in cats, the trickier it becomes.

The complications and controversies surrounding feline trichomoniasis are explored in a cutting-edge review article published this month in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. The authors, Dr. Jody Gookin and colleagues from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, explain that one of the most pressing challenges is that feline trichomonosis is resistant to all commonly used antiprotozoals. . Currently, the only drug with demonstrated efficacy in cats is ronidazole, but this agent has a narrow margin of safety and clinical resistance is increasingly recognized. A cat treated with the drug may indeed show complete or nearly complete resolution of its diarrhea, but it can be very difficult to determine whether the treatment has actually eradicated the infection or merely masked the clinical signs. This, in turn, raises the specific question of the risk that a treated cat may pose to other cats if it is, for example, reintroduced into a breeding cattery. More broadly, given these difficulties and the spontaneous resolution of diarrhea seen in many cats, the controversial question has arisen: should veterinarians even bother to treat the infection in cats?

The authors conclude that although research has gone a long way in advancing the understanding of this infection, there remain many unanswered questions that are critical for future progress. Are felines and cattle T. fetus really biologically distinct genotypes, residing in distinct hosts, or is there a risk of cross-infection between cattle and cats? Should we also treat all cats in contact with a cat infected with the Tritrichomonas species? What is the long-term effect of Tritrichomonas species infection on feline gastrointestinal health, and can safer and more effective medications be identified for the treatment of the infection?

Source of the story:

Material provided by SAGE. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Comments are closed.