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Thread: At the End of My Rope

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  1. #1

    At the End of My Rope

    I resued a male Himalayan in Feb 2011 who is about 4 years old. He has food allergies which I have addressed with the proper food, and has had stool & blood tests, but he still has chronic diarrhea. I started him on proviable dc which initially seems to have made it worse. He managed to jump over 2 stacked baby gates during the night and deposited numerous "piles" all over the carpeting in that room. Although he has diarrhea 24 hous a day it seems to be worse at night. He is a sweet animal and I would like to keep him but the diarrhea has to stop. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    South Hero Vermont

    Have you had this test done yet?

    ......TF is an emerging parasite in the feline world. Surveys have suggested that approximately one third of all purebred cats are infected. It is rarely tested for and may be responsible for many of the cases of chronic diarrhea (e.g. IBD) in cats. If you are a cat owner please take some time to read this page and acquaint yourself with this 'new' parasite. If we can help answer any questions contact us

    Our TF History: We first learned about TF in 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: Since our initial TF test we have performed 110 TF tests. All of our adult female have now repeatedly tested negative. None of our kittens in our current litters have tested positive. We do have one new problem. Two of our young intact male studs have failed treatment. A theory has been proposed by Dr Gookin (TF researcher) that intact males may be able to harbor TF in their sex organs which may be beyond the reach of the drug used to treat TF. We are now treating these males with a different drug. It will take about three weeks before we know how effective this treatment has been. These males have been isolated so they do not pose a threat of infection to our other Abys

    Where did TF come from?:Tritrichomonas foetus (TF) is a protozoan that infects bovines (cattle). It is considered a venereal disease in that industry. It was first discovered in felines in 1996 but was not associated with diarrhea in felines at that time. As best as I can learn it appears that Dr Jody Gookin made (or suspected?) this association in 1999. The other researcher investigating TF is Dr Stan Marks at UC Davis. Why TF was not considered more widely as a cause of diarrhea in cats until very recently is a mystery to us.

    What is TF?: A TF protozoan organism which looks very similar to Giardia so if viewed by in a fecal smear a misdiagnoses of Giardia is common. Fecal floats and Giardia snap tests are insensitive to TF. TF is a fragile organism whose life span out of the body is normally less than an hour. This lack of hardiness is due to the fact that TF cannot form a cyst (as can Giardia). If TF drys out, if it is refrigerated or if it experiences temperatures above 105F it will die. Obviously bleach will kill it too but it will probably be dead by the time you clean the surface. The primary infection path is probably the litter box where a well timed use by two cats can transfer the parasite fecal/orally. Dr Gookin has commented that TF can live for 3-4 days in a wet stool (wet is the key word).

    Symptoms: TF lives in the intestinal lining of the large bowel. It causes cow pie like stool that is often gassy and malodorous. Several breeders have commented that in symptomatic cats that the smell of the stool is a significant clue of an infection. The health of an infected cat is not usually adversely affected. It is important to note that an infected cat may or may not have clinical signs of TF. We had a TF positive female that had good stools.

    Testing: There are three testing methods. The least sensitive method is a microscopic examination of a fecal smear. The probability of detecting TF in an infected cat has been estimated to be less than 20%. Additionally two other organisms, Giardia and Pentatrichomonas hominis may confuse the diagnosis.

    The gold standard of TF testing is a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. A stool sample can be sent to Dr Gookin's vet college ( for a PCR test. This is a very sensitive but unfortunately very expensive ($100/ test) test.

    Alternatively you or your vet can use the BioMed InPouchTF test ( This test is about $5/test. This test is simple to perform and if multiple tests are required this is the only sensible economic approach.

    Prognosis: Until Dr Gookin published her findings last year there was no effective drug treatment. Dr Gookin has stated that “Most cats have spontaneous resolution of diarrhea in two years. More than half the cats remained positive for presence of the organisms however, up to 4-years after diagnosis and possibly many can carry the infection for life." In a multiple cat environment this could mean an endless cycle of reinfection.

    Treatment: The drug of choice is ronidazole (RDZ). The dosage is 30-50 mg/Kg twice a day for 14 days. Their are few suppliers of this drug but one source is Westlab Pharmacy ( Westlab is a compound pharmacy, they will make up RDZ capsules of the correct dosage. Capsules are preferred as it is not advised to mix RDZ with food as it has a bitter taste. RDZ seems to be well tolerated by felines but there have been some incidences of temporary neurological problems, usually at higher dosages. Those treating with RDZ should also consider the effect of weight gains during this 14 day period, especially in kittens. Weight gains during the 14 day treatment period may cause the dose to go sub-therapeutic (i.e. below 30 mg/Kg). As for other side effects, I have received one email reporting that their cat experienced liver failure while on RDZ. Fortunately it was reversible and the cat returned to normal. It is not known if this cat was treated within the recommended dosage range. Their are some, not necessary the one who had the liver problem, who in an effort to save costs who are using RDZ formulated for pigeons which at a 10% concentration. Accurate measuring and dosing with this form of RDZ may be difficult. We have experienced no adverse side-effects nor has any others been reported to us. Westlab have said that they have had reported to them some temporary neurological symptoms in a few cases but in large side-effects are few.

    Post Treatment Testing: We begin testing 10-14 days after RDZ treatment. We wait this time period to make sure that no residual RDZ is present to bias the test. We are repeating the test approximately every 14 days afterward. We expect to lengthen this period slowly until 20 weeks is reached. Since cats have sensitive guts diarrhea (and vomiting) are not unusual occurrences in cats. If we observe any loose stool we test it. So far these events have been transient and these tests have all been negative.
    The information sources: Material published by Dr Jody Gookin ( and email correspondences with her. Addition information was obtained from the folks at BioMed ( and Westlab Pharmacy ( Also experiences and the experiences of other breeders who are corresponding with us were included. Neither I nor any breeder I know would suggest that anyone, in matters of feline health, treat there cats independently of their vet.

    Additional TF information:
    Dr Gookin's TF paper:

    Dr Gookin's June 2005 RDZ treatment paper:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Santa Clara, CA
    I'm so sorry to hear this. My RB cat Starr had colitis and IBD so I can relate to what you're going through. The only thing that helped him was for him to be on prednisolone but this made him gain so much weight that it made his life miserable and it shortened his life. I hope that you'll be able to find the right solution for his problem. Maybe a holistic vet might be able to help you. Prayers and positive thoughts are being sent your way.
    Owned by Sky, Pearl, Ziggy Stardust, Alani, Blaze, Colby, Finnegan, and Summer.

    My Rainbow Bridge Babies:
    RB Pepper 3/17/97- 2/3/03 RIP Sweet Pepper
    RB Starr 3/22/05- 7/1/09 RIP Sweet Starr
    RB Sunny 8/25/00- 2/28/10 RIP Sweet Sunny
    RB Storm 1/11/96- 8/2/12 RIP Sweet Storm

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Some of my food allergies will give me diarrhea as well. I would switch back to the most basic food you can, maybe just some boiled chicken for a few days, and then see what happens. You can then try adding other food, but one ingredient at a time, to see what affect, if any, they have.
    I've Been Frosted

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Methuen, MA; USA
    I can't add anything, just wanted to say thank you for rescuing him, and now for trying to find a solution to his issue.

    Natural Balance has several limited ingredient foods, which you could try after the boiled chicken for a few days to calm his system. I guess stick w/ a kibble for a start. Here is a link:

    Praying that you find a food which works.

  6. #6
    I had an allergy panel done on him and the booklet lists the food and manufacters that make things he can tolerate. I tried boiled chicken . . . it didn't change anything and after a few days he refused to eat it. I do find it odd that he tends to sleep all day with no apparent issues, and then goes during the night.

    I just gave him his dinner. About a teaspoon of the tuna he may have and he no sooner started to eat it and he had to go. I don't see how it can get into his intestinal tract that fast.

    His history is he lived in a garage for a few years and was abandoned when the people moved. I can't help thinking that he ended up in the garage because of the diarrhea.
    Last edited by RGC; 09-18-2011 at 03:37 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Litter Box, Greenville, SC
    I'm sorry to hear of your and the kitty's troubles.

    Out of curiosity, what are you feeding him? Or have fed in the past? I'm not an expert, but mine have had food issues in the past and I had to change the food.
    Meowmie to Mr. Spunky, Lady Jane, Bob, Callie, Kimi, and fosters Lucy Lou and HRH Oliver Woodrow von Katz.

    I've been Boo'd ... right off the stage!

    RIP Samwise (Dec 2, 2014), Emily (Oct 8, 2013), Rose (Sept 24, 2001), Maggie (Fall 2003)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Santa Clara, CA
    Maybe he needs a food that has a higher fiber content in it. Have you tried giving him canned pumpkin at all? My two latest additions, Alani & Blaze have always had very sensitive tummies but they were always able to make it to the litter boxes. I now feed them Chicken Soup For The Cat Lovers Soul in the dry light formula because it has higher fiber than the adult formula. It's really helped them a lot. I do give them a little canned mixed in with their dry only about 2 times a week and they also get some chicken broth almost every day. I hope you'll be able to find a solution soon. Good luck.
    Owned by Sky, Pearl, Ziggy Stardust, Alani, Blaze, Colby, Finnegan, and Summer.

    My Rainbow Bridge Babies:
    RB Pepper 3/17/97- 2/3/03 RIP Sweet Pepper
    RB Starr 3/22/05- 7/1/09 RIP Sweet Starr
    RB Sunny 8/25/00- 2/28/10 RIP Sweet Sunny
    RB Storm 1/11/96- 8/2/12 RIP Sweet Storm

  9. #9
    The dry food is Wellness Salmon and turkey by Old Mother Hubbard. Tried a number of the ones he was allowed to have and he would not touch them. Wet is Friskies flaked tuna. Tried other wet and he'd eat them once or twice and then would not touch them. Turkey and chicken he won't eat after one or two tries. I've given away a lot of food. He is allergic to venison, brewers yeast, white potatoes, pork, corn, tomato pomace, and alfalfa. Except for the alfalfa, which he is moderately allergic to, he is highly allergic to the others.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    In my garden
    What did the stool sample show? Was he treated for any intestinal parasites? Some of them don't always show on tests so a vet might suggest a treatment anyway to rule them out. Metronidazole was prescribed for my cats when they got extreme diarrhoea of unknown origin. You can use Immodium on cats but you would need a vet to okay that and give you the dosage. It's good only short term.

    Is it possible he got into something in the garage where he lived that did damage to his intestines?

    I adopted a cat several months ago from an animal control. The cat had been on the streets for months and was overgrooming from the stress of being in a small cage for months. At first I thought he had allergies and put him on a very restricted diet but I've found over time that stress is the major factor both of his terrible, and sometimes bloody diarrhoea and his overgrooming. Now that he's settled into my home, he can eat anything.

    Your cat might have several issues going on at the same time which makes treatment difficult.

    Can you confine him to one bedroom and throw a sheet of vinyl flooring over the carpet?

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