Identification of tritrichomonas foetus and giardia spp. infection in pedigree show cats in New Zealand

D. D. Kingsbury, N. J. Cave, D. D. Kingsbury, S. L. Marks, R. A. Grahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Aims: To establish the presence of Tritrichomonas foetus, to investigate the prevalence of co-infection with Giardia spp., and determine risk factors for T. foetus infection in pedigree show cats in New Zealand. Methods: Freshly voided faecal samples were collected from cats attending two regional pedigree cat shows in the North Island during 2006. The samples were subjected to ZnSO4 floatation; ELISA for Giardia spp.; culture for T. foetus; and DNA isolation, amplification, and sequencing. Owners were asked to complete a questionnaire concerning aspects of the cats’ environment, previous medical history, and diet. Results: Faecal samples were collected from 22 cats from 12 separate catteries. Giardia spp. were identified using ELISA or faecal fl oatation in seven samples, and Sarcocystis spp. were identified in four samples. Tritrichomonas foetus was cultured from three samples, but 18 samples were positive on PCR. Two were randomly selected for representative sequencing. Basic local alignment search tool (BLAST) analysis results indicated 100% homology to T. foetus internal transcribed spacer 1. Poor faecal quality was apparent in only 8/22 samples, all of which were positive for T. foetus, and five of the eight were from cats with a previous history of chronic intermittent diarrhoea. Five samples were positive for both T. foetus and Giardia spp. Numbers of participants were too low to assess risk factors or significant associations. Conclusions: This is the first report of the presence of T. foetus-infected cats in New Zealand, and the large proportion of PCR-positive samples was much greater than previous surveys of pedigree cats in other countries. Clinical Relevance: Tritrichomonas foetus infection is recognised as an important cause of chronic large-bowel diarrhoea in cats, and may be highly prevalent in pedigree show cats in New Zealand, with the potential for co-infection with Giardia spp. Diagnosis is simple, and should involve PCR for the greatest sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-10
Number of pages5
JournalNew Zealand Veterinary Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Cat
  • Giardia spp.
  • Tritrichomonas foetus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of tritrichomonas foetus and giardia spp. infection in pedigree show cats in New Zealand'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this