Pet insurance policies are underwritten by Markel American Insurance Company.
Follow Us
sick kitten sitting outside litter box

Standard testing may overlook intestinal parasite in cats

Q: My kitten had chronic diarrhea, despite negative fecal testing and several deworming treatments. Finally, the veterinarian diagnosed Tritrichomonas and started medication that seems to be working. What is Tritrichomonas?

A: Tritrichomonas, nicknamed “tri-trick,” is a one-celled protozoal parasite that spreads among cats by fecal-oral transmission. Most often, a cat acquires the parasite by licking its paws after using a contaminated litter box or by grooming or nursing from an infected cat.

Tritrichomonas causes intermittent or chronic diarrhea. The stool may be watery to semi-formed, and it may contain blood or mucus. The anus may be red, and the cat may defecate frequently, strain in the litter box or exhibit fecal incontinence. Some affected cats vomit, show no interest in food and lose weight.

Standard fecal testing does not detect this parasite, so special fecal tests are required. The most sensitive of these is the PCR test. All of your cats should be tested, because carriers that appear healthy can still spread the parasite.

The treatment of choice is a medication called ronidazole, given once daily for two weeks, plus a probiotic. Testing is repeated after treatment to be sure the Tritrichomonas has been eliminated.

Fortunately, most disinfectants kill Tritrichomonas, so frequent litter box cleaning helps control an outbreak. It's always good to be prepared with cat insurance!


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com

Q: My friend recommends...

What You Need To Know About Heartworm In Pets | Figo Pet Insurance

We all care about the health and...

Veterinarian Tips For Choosing Dog Food | Figo Pet Insurance

Q: What brand of food...

More From Figo Blog
Dog Breed Profile: Getting To Know The Beagle | Figo Pet Insurance

Playful. Energetic. Family friendly. Ears as...

Cats On Glass: Flipping Your Feline Perspective Upside Down | Figo Pet Insurance

Cats on glass objects like tables and shelves...

Five Ways Owning A Cat Is Good For You | Figo Pet Insurance

There are almost as many ways to describe cats...

Scarf’d: Mother Cluckin’ Good Chicken And Waffles For Pets

Mother’s Day is for the moms (fur, human,...

Boston terrier sitting alert on a bed

What’s your dog saying when she puts her ears...

Dog with Hip Dysplasia laying on floor with cone around head recovering

If you have a large- or giant-breed dog, hip...

Most of us are familiar with the old...

Cleft palate most common in flat-faced breeds: Boxer puppy laying in bed

Q: I’m thinking about buying...

HELP