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Protozoal Parasites in Cats with Diarrhea

Tzannes, S., D. J. Batchelor, et al. (2008). “Prevalence of Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Isospora species infections in pet cats with clinical signs of gastrointestinal disease.” J Feline Med Surg 10(1): 1-8.

The protozoal parasites Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and Isospora cause signs of gastrointestinal disease in many mammal species. Cryptosporidium and Giardia are important infections of immunocompromised people. The prevalence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium in cats varies worldwide, with rates up to 80%. In kittens, Isospora species infection may result in diarrhea that may be mucoid or bloody. The infection is common around the world, with a reported prevalence as high as 44%. This study aimed to evaluate prevalence of Cryptosporidium species, Giardia duodenalis and Isospora species infection in a cohort of cats displaying signs of gastrointestinal disease and to identify if demographic factors, such as signalment, region or season, were correlated with prevalence. Records from a United Kingdom commercial diagnostic laboratory between December 2003 and December 2005 were reviewed. Of 1355 cats, Cryptosporidium species oocysts were found in 13 cats (1%), Giardia species trophozoites in 74 (6%), and Isospora felis oocysts in 46 (3%). Prevalence of Giardia (9%) and Isospora (9%) species was higher in cats less than 6 months old. Gender and breed did not affect prevalence. This study demonstrates that enteric protozoal infection is common in domestic cats showing signs of gastrointestinal disease.
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Related articles:
Mekaru, S. R., S. L. Marks, et al. (2007). “Comparison of direct immunofluorescence, immunoassays, and fecal flotation for detection of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. in naturally exposed cats in 4 Northern California animal shelters.” J Vet Intern Med 21(5): 959-65.
>> PubMed abstract