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Watery Diarrhea & Frequent Fecal Dribbling in a Cat with Dr. Pohlman

Lisa M. Pohlman, DVM, MS, DACVP, Kansas State University

In this episode, host Alyssa Watson, DVM, welcomes back Lisa M. Pohlman, DVM, MS, DACVP, to talk about her recent Clinician’s Brief article, “Watery Diarrhea & Frequent Fecal Dribbling in a Cat.” Dr. Pohlman talks about her diagnostic process when determining the cause of this cat’s diarrhea, with an emphasis on differentiating between Giardia spp and Tritrichomonas foetus. After determining a diagnosis of T. foetus, Dr. Pohlman then discusses treatment, patient monitoring, follow-up, and how to prevent spread.

Key Takeaways

  •  
  • Tritrichomonas foetus and Giardia spp can be differentiated based on motility. Trichomonads have rapid, forward motility, whereas Giardia spp do not exhibit this motion.
  • PCR is the gold standard test to diagnose T. foetus.
  • Ronidazole is the only drug that has demonstrated to be effective.
    • It is potentially carcinogenic for humans. Use with extreme caution, even when handling feces of cats on medication.
  • Outside of the cat, T. foetus lasts ~24 hours. It is not considered zoonotic, but case reports of infected humans exist.
  • Most infected cats' symptoms will generally resolve within about 2 years, even without treatment.
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About the Author

Lisa M. Pohlman, DVM, MS, DACVP, is an associate professor of clinical pathology at Kansas State University. She earned her DVM from University of Guelph and her MS in clinical pathology from Auburn University, where she also completed a residency. Dr. Pohlman serves as the president and medical director of the Riley County Humane Society in Manhattan, Kansas, and is an active teacher and mentor of veterinary interns, residents, and graduate students. She enjoys providing CE in clinical pathology through speaking engagements, online courses, and publications. Her research interests include improvement of clinical pathology laboratory methods and identification and characterization of disease in domestic species, particularly in shelter animals, as well as pets owned by individuals who cannot afford routine veterinary care.

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