An update of this page has long been due. Since our original outbreak in early 2006 we have assisted hundreds of pet owners and cat breeders plus a few dozen vets. I would like to report that Tritrichomonas foetus (TF) is well known to the aforementioned but the constant stream of inquiries I receive suggest otherwise. For those who have found this webpage in their search for information on TF please remember to go to Dr Gookin's webapge to learn more about TF and to download the Owner's Guide which has the most current information. This guide will hopefully answer all your questions about TF plus it will give you information on how to test and how to treat infected cats. I was privileged to be a co-author of this guide with Dr Gookin but one should note that virtually all we know about TF is because of Dr Gookin's research.
This guide is downloadable from Dr Gookin's webpage and is free for individual use. The link to the guide is in the list of links (mid-page). Permission is not granted to post this guide as a document on any website. A link to the Dr Gookin's webpage (http://www.jodygookin.com) may be posted. If you have any questions or comments: contact us
Since most of the TF information that was on this page is redundant with the information contained in the guide it has been removed. I will however keep on this webpage TF information that is specific to our cattery.
Our TF History: We first learned about TF in late January 2006. The symptoms of this parasite matched some of the symptoms we were seeing in some of our Abys. We purchased the equipment and tests required to detect TF and began testing in February. We found TF in 10 of our Abys (8 adults and 2 kittens). Working with our vet we have treated our Abys and are now regularly testing to insure our Abys are TF free.
Current TF Status: We are continuing to assist, where possible, in furthering the understanding of this parasite. Unfortunately because we have pledged to keep some of this work confidential we can't at this time divulge details. We have also have shared our knowledge with 100s of breeders and pet owners.
Since our initial TF test we have performed 300+ TF tests. Our females have continued to test negative for TF since the spring of 2006 and the kittens they have produced have also tested negative.
Two intact males and one neuter male did fail treatment in 2006. The two intact males had their diarrhea resolved by their first ronidazole treatment and have not had a recurrences of loose stools since then. All have now been retired from breeding but they will continue to carry the TF organism.
We have learned from tests performed on one of these males the shedding of the TF organism may diminish to a level where the cat will test negative if routinely tested with either a PCR or pouch type test. Whether these asymptomatic carriers can be considered safe to be amongst other cats is unknown but would likely be risky since it has been demonstrated that the number of TF shedded can be increased if diarrhea is artifically induced. This suggests that while asymptomatic carriers may appear non-infected they may be silently harboring the parasite and that if anything causes them to be afflicted with diarrhea they will likely begin shedding TF in significant numbers. Those who have mutli-cat environments where one of more cats have been diagnosed with TF and who also have cats that present no clinical signs of a TF infection (e.g. diarrhea) may want to discuss with their vet, prior to TF testing, whether it would be appropriate to induce diarrhea to help uncover silent carriers.
Regarding matings using a known TF infected asymptomatic male we have mated TF negative females to some of our TF positive males. Matings were performed in a very controlled environment. The females continue to test negative and none have symptoms of this disease.
In case of concern it should be noted that these males have been isolated so they do not pose a threat of infection to our other Abys and the females used to breed to them are isolated until multiple TF tests are performed
It is interesting to note that in the 10 years we have been breeding we have never seen such consistently firm stool as we have since we tested and treated for TF. With the benefit of hindsight we suspect that TF has been present in our cattery (and like most all catteries) to varying degrees for many years.