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Tritrichomonas and Reproductive Disease in Cats

Winn-funded research

Gray S, Hunter S, Stone M, Gookin J. Assessment of reproductive tract disease in cats at risk for Tritrichomonas foetus infection. Am J Vet Res. 2010;71(1):76-81.

Tritrichomonas foetus is a venereal pathogen of cattle. Since 2003, T. foetus has been identified in cats as a pathogen of the gastrointestinal tract. In cats, T. foetus resides in epithelial secretions and crypts of the colon. The infection is common in purebred cats. This study’s objective was to determine whether T. foetus infection resides in reproductive tract tissues from cats housed for breeding and where a high prevalence of colonic T. foetus infection has been reported. Sixty-one purebred cats in 36 catteries had reproductive tract tissue, feces, and a reproductive history evaluated. Tissues were examined for T. foetus via light microscopy, immunohistochemical analysis, and PCR assay. Fifteen of 61 cats (25%) and 22 of 33 (67%) catteries were identified with active or reported T. foetus infection. T. foetus infection of the reproductive tract was not detected in any cats. There were also no differences in total number of litters, number of litters per breeding, kitten mortality rate, or birth defects between cats or catteries infected with T. foetus and those for which T. foetus infection was not identified. The authors concluded there was no evidence of reproductive tract colonization by T. foetus found in this study. Therefore, it is unlikely that reproductive tract infection with T. foetus plays an important role in overall disease transmission. [VT]

Related articles:
Tolbert MK, Gookin J. Tritrichomonas foetus: a new agent of feline diarrhea. Compend Contin Educ Vet. 2009;31(8):374-381.

Payne PA, Artzer M. The biology and control of Giardia spp and Tritrichomonas foetus. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. Nov 2009;39(6):993-1007, v.