Microsoft word - healthdiarrhea9-06.doc

An Article from TIBCS Health Committee
By Canie Brooks & Jaen Treesinger, Co-chairs
No longer is it possible for any Bengal breeder to claim that the Bengals just
have a "sensitive" intestinal tract always prone to soft stools & diarrhea. Sound
familiar?.Something we used to hear all the time and still do on occasion, even
from vets. With access to internet networking, new grain-free kibble and some
newer treatments for Coccidea & Tritrichomonas foetus, more and more catteries
are faced with nearly picture perfect poop. Unfortunately the picture is not nearly
so perfect for everyone.
Lots of people, ourselves included, jumped into Bengals without knowing
anything about breeding cats and it has been a steep learning curve. A lot of
people ignore what cycles in and out and don't know how to cure what they have.
Much of it doesn't test positive at the vet, so treatment is clueless and frustration
mounts in direct proportion to the vet bills.
We tend to think much of it is diet based and that most Bengals are especially
sensitive to grain-based diets, not to mention meat "by-products" (read most
kibbles and canned brands). Perhaps Bengals' sensitivity is because of closer
proximity to the wild ancestor and its primordial diet. Or perhaps it is more true of
all cats than we realize. If an animal is healthy because of their diet and their
immune system is healthy, they can exist with many of these pathogens and not
be symptomatic because there is no overgrowth.
If you have a Bengal that cycles in and out of diarrhea, there are some
supportive therapies that you can do. Two supplements which will help heal the
gut are bonded L-Glutamine (an amino acid, a very high quality form is
GlutImmune, available from and pro-biotic products such
as Wysong products; Call of the Wild or F-Biotic. Adding in about 15% plain
cooked pumpkin will help firm up the stiool without further inflaming the intestinal
walls. Also, a high quality diet is essential. Bengals need a primarily meat based
diet, using a product that uses human grade meat as the base.
EVO is a new grain-free kibble (available from which does
just that. Many breeders report lots of healthy changes from feeding this kibble.
We recommend changing over to it very, very slowly to avoid being discouraged
if it brings on diarrhea. We believe EVO allows the cat to start to dislodge layers
of mucoid plaque caused by the previous grain-based diet. Typically vets will put
a Bengal with runny stools on an IBD food that will stop diarrhea because there
are ingredients in these foods like beet pulp that will plug up a runny bowel. They
only bury the problem, for it to surface as long term effects (no pun intended)
Basic husbandry tells us to keep very clean conditions; keep the hands and litter
boxes washed, especially if any diarrhea starts up. A brief summary on the order
of diagnostic pursuit is; a) parasite/pathogen, b) diet sensitivities, c) Viral and d)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Until you've got a handle on what's wrong, you
really can't start treatment.or it's hit and miss; and yet sometimes that seems
like your only option.
One breeder recently had a weird outbreak of very runny diarrhea in virtually all
of their cats. The cats were taken in and a battery of routine testing was done
without anything identified. Luckily, a fellow breeder posted to the
TIBCSMEMBERS list ( about
flavor additives that most chicken is soaked in. The cats were being fed raw
ground chicken. To save money, the breeder was buying a cheap outlet brand of
one of the major brands of chicken and grinding it. Upon hearing about the flavor
additives, as an experiment, the breeder cut back on the percentage of raw meat
in the meat mixture being fed and the diarrhea disappeared in all but two cats!
Then the breeder called around and found a wholesaler who delivers and was
able to buy a free range, no antibiotic brand of chicken with no flavor additives for
the same price as the outlet brand!! The breeder again increased the percentage
of raw chicken in the meat mixture and this time there was no resulting diarrhea.
There were just two cats that did not respond to change of diet who then did
respond to a week of treatment with metronizadole.
This parasite is very, very common and very easy to get a re-infection, especially
if your cats are housed more than one to a space. There was a complete article
by Lorraine Shelton on Cocci & the use of Baycox in the 2005 winter Bulletin (vol.
19, issue 4). The important things to realize about Baycox are: a) Use only the
5% solution (available from and NOT the
2.5% solution for pigeons,
b) This drug works best when it is used at the age of 4-6 weeks as a preventative
of coccida infection in kittens. and c) Follow the directions carefully and when you
use it, draw up some water into the syringe first and then the Baycox, so that
when it is administered, there is a little "chaser" of water already in the syringe to
help wash down the Baycox so it doesn't irritate the esophagus. (They really
hate this as it is very bitter)
Tritrichomonas foetus or TF
For information about what TF is, read this link where there are excellent pictures
you can share with your vet;
Tritrich may be causing much of the diarrhea so common in Bengals. A relatively
new breeder who has bought in 5 Bengals from 5 different catteries found that
every single one tested positive for TriTrich using the TF Pouch Test. a
frightening bit of information in a quickly developing breed that frequently trades
and sells between breeders in a frenzy to keep up. This breeder has used the TF
Pouch Tests & Ronidazole for treatment, but has had the TF re-occur in every cat. However, the good news is that post treatment overgrowths of TriTrich have been controlled by switching to a raw diet and the cats are symptom free. From Dr. Gookin's research: In a study of long-term outcome in 26 cats with diarrhea and T. foetus infection, clinical signs resolved a median of 9-months after the onset of diarrhea (range, 4 months to 2 years). Relapses of diarrhea were common and associated with dietary change, medical treatments unassociated with T. foetus infection, and travel. On the basis of fecal PCR, T. foetus was undetectable in >50% of cats when tested 2-5 years after diagnosis. Thus, cats with T. foetus may have a good long-term prognosis for spontaneous resolution of disease. Recently 50 cats were fecal tested at a southern California show (under a study conducted by Dr. Stanley Marks, UCDavis) Results demonstrated that 11/50 cats (22%) were positive on culture (InPouch) for TriTrich. foetus. 15/50 cats (30%) had Giardia present. 9/11 (82%) of the cats with TriTrich also had Giardia 2/50 (4%) cats had Cryptosporidium. For those of you who breed outside cats, the Trich culture test should be considered for incoming queens. This may not please your customers, as it is a $200.00 test that takes 2 weeks to complete the culture. So how do you test for Tritrich? There are two options: 1) The TF Pouch test, about $4-5 each. Here is the link for the Tritrich test pouch instructions.This tells you to "incubate" the contents of the pouch or 2-12 days before you look at it under the scope. The pouch test can possibly miss "inactive" TF. To read about the TF Pouch Test and order: 2) Also available from your vet are PCR tests which are a 2 week culture, So how do you treat TF? Use Ronidazole, which is suspected of being mutagenic and carcinogenic, which is why it was withdrawn from the US market, (and elsewhere) for use in humans. DO NOT use in pregnant cats. More info on drug here: The dosage given for this drug is 30-50 mg/kg, twice a day for 14 days. DO NOT give the avian version. This needs to be formulated in a lab using a script from your Vet: Labs: Roadrunner Pharmacy 711 E. Carefree Hwy., Suite 140 Phoenix, Az. 85085 (877) 518-4589 (623) 434-1180 Suite #5 Gainesville, FL 32607 352 377-8156 This drug's safety in pregnant cats has not been established. The test group for the published safety and efficacy study consisted of 10 week old kittens. Here is a reference for your vet: Here is the link to Dr. Gookin's site; She is doing a lot of research on Tritrich: Some have tried to use Tindazole or Tindamax is an alternative drug for use against Trichomonas (T.Foetus), Giardia, coccidia and many other protozoa in cats. It is available from your local Pharmacy with a Vet's prescription. The dosage is 250 mg Tabs given at 30mg/kg once daily for 10 days. This drug is safer and far more obtainable and affordable than Ronidazole, but may not be as effective and the trich can re-occur. Dr. Gookin is doing a study on using Tinidazole as an alternative to Ronidazole, since finding that the possibility of re-infection of TF in cats after administrating Ronidazole. Please check her site for the latest information and updates.


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