Researchers at the University of Florida have determined that Tritrichomonas infection in domestic cats is due to a novel species. Previously it was believed that Tritrichomonas foetus was the species that infected both cats and cattle. Experimental studies were performed to infect cows with the feline isolate and to infect cats with the bovine isolate. Researchers then noted differences in the disease-causing capacity in each of the animal hosts. DNA analysis was also performed, finding key genetic differences between the Tritrichomonas species naturally found in cats and cattle. The new species is called Tritrichomonas blagburni, named after Dr. Byron Blagburn, an Auburn University distinguished professor.
Feline trichomoniasis is an intestinal disease resulting in chronic diarrhea, fecal incontinence, tenesmus (straining), and flatulence. Bovine trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease and infects the reproductive tract of cows, causing uterine infections and abortions. One of the results of the new findings is the fact that cats are now not considered a source for infections of cattle on farms. [VT]
See also: Gruffydd-Jones T, Addie D, Belák S, et al. Tritrichomoniasis in Cats: ABCD guidelines on prevention and management. J Feline Med Surg. 2013; 15: 647-9.