As you can see, even professionals and academics can’t resist making
sophomoric jokes about diarrhea. But now I’d like to give serious
consideration to just one challenging diarrheal disease – cryptosporidiosis
(crypto for short.) Most prevalent in the South and Southeast, it is caused by
various strains of Cryptosporidium, which is a type of coccidium, a
microscopic one-celled parasite.
Cryptosporidium species are ubiquitous in nature. Many species of
livestock, as well as humans, can be infected. Infection of dogs and cats is
common, but as with other potential causes of diarrhea, not all infections
cause obvious symptoms. The infection may clear up on its own, or exist in a
prolonged carrier state, in an animal with normal-appearing feces.
Symptoms are more likely to occur in immunosuppressed animals, which
include the very young and very old, pets who are malnourished due to poor
diet or heavy parasite burdens, pets suffering from other concurrent disease,
or those who are physically or psychologically stressed. The symptoms of
crypto are watery diarrhea (short- or long-term), decreased appetite, and
Inside the animal’s intestines, the organism produces offspring within egg-
like “oocysts.” These microscopic structures are shed in the animal’s feces
and are very resistant to disinfectants and environmental extremes. Other
animals get infected through contact with contaminated soil, food, or water,
when they accidentally ingest the oocysts.
Although oocysts may be present in an infected pet’s stool, diagnosis is
difficult due to their tiny size, much smaller than other coccidian parasites of
dogs and cats. Unless special techniques and stains are used, the organism
is easily overlooked (“crypto” is Greek for “hidden”). If crypto is suspected as
the cause of a pet’s illness, more advanced diagnostic methods may need to
be employed to confirm the infection. Alternatively, treatment may be based on
suspicion of crypto, or failure to respond to other anti-diarrheal therapy.
Unfortunately, crypto isn’t easy to cure, either. Over ninety different drugs
have been tried, and not one has proven effective in every case. Remember,
most crypto infections are asymptomatic and self-limiting in otherwise healthy
dogs and cats. Part of the reason that treatments fail so often in symptomatic
cases may be due to the presence of underlying disorders, such as
inflammatory bowel disease or immune-suppressing infections like feline
leukemia virus. In humans, crypto generally causes nothing worse than
transient diarrhea, but in AIDS patients it can result in severe cramps,
dehydration, and even death.
Crypto is rarely a significant concern for the average house pet but is most
problematic in kennels, animal shelters, and catteries. In addition to the
greater likelihood of all kinds of infectious diseases spreading through a
dense population, there are the contributing issues of imperfect sanitation
and stress due to overcrowding. In such an environment, it may be
impossible to rid the animals of endemic crypto.
Diarrhea in pets... Back when I first began this site I told you about my Sampson and the diarrhea issues he was
having. I attributed it to stress, even though the vet told me his stools were loaded with bacteria. I also told you
about the fuss or should I say pure torture we had to go through to medicate him. He never finished his meds,
yet he's back to his normal weight, hair consistency and energy. So what's the big deal about diarrhea?
|Adopt a stray!
They need you.
Spay or Neuter your
Don't buy, adopt!
|When sending photos... Please downsize to a maximum of 400 x 400. Got questions? Email me here! We NEVER open attached photos!
Dr. Carla Haddix DVM
Wouldn't you just love to open your back door and let your cats roam around in your yard? A friend of
mine has the fence as in the picture and her cats love the freedom it affords them! The neighbors
like the fact she keeps her cats off of their property and everyone couldn't be happier!
To Learn more, just click the ad below!
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|Be a part of it all at our 2nd Annual CAT SCRATCH FEVER GOLF
TOURNAMENT to be held once again at Kissimmee Bay Golf Club,
October 11, 2008. We anticipate a full field, so get signed up NOW!
Amy was found in
the parking of a
hotel. These kitty is
just a little shy, and
is in a foster home
with a volunteer
who is working on
Amy is a very petite
kitty. She is a
teenager now but
still is the size of a
kitten ! HERE for
Lexi is intelligent,
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The more rambunctious
of the sisters, she is
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though she's Ms.
Independent, but when
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she melts like butter in a
Lexi is healthy, active,
and... MORE here!
Salvador is an awesome
puppy who is looking for a
forever home! My foster home
thinks that I will be a dentist
when I grow up! I can sit and
lick my foster brothers teeth till
I fall asleep! I am very shy at
first but hand over the treats
that are on the counter and I
will soon be your best friend. I
am your typical puppy, I like to
chew on EVERYTHING! I am
doing really good with.....
Francis is a sweet kitty, she is
a little skittish at first but very
affectionate once she adapts to
you. She would probably do
best as the only kitty.
So email Anita and tell her you
|He's simply a
and needs YOU!
*A cat's heart beats twice as fast as a human heart, at 110 to 140 beats per minute.
*Calico cats are almost always female.
*Cats wag their tails when it is in a stage of conflict. The cat wants to do two things at once, but each impulse blocks the
other. For example: If your cat is in the doorway wanting to go outside, and you open the door to find it raining, the cat's
tail will wag because of internal conflict. The cat wants to go outside, but doesn't want to go into the rain. Once the cat
makes a decision and either returns to the house or leaves into the rain, the tail will immediately stop wagging.
*Cats knead with their paws when they're happy.
*Your cat loves you and can "read" your moods. If you're sad or under stress, you may also notice a difference in your
*The domestic cat is the only cat species able to hold its tail vertically while walking. All wild cats hold their tails
horizontally or tucked between their legs while walking.
Well... not really. But Alex has
been so good with getting his
article here on time for the last
year, I thought I'd give the kid a
break. He's also just started
school again and need to
concentrate on the HIGH
SCHOOL environment. He'll be
back in October!
|Submit a funny pet story and photo! All
are welcome to join in on the fun, so
come get involved.
A note from Deborah...
I had started talking to Dr. Haddix about certain bacteria found to be a major culprit for creating diarrhea in cats. Most specifically,
Cryptosporidium . Sounds like something that could be used to take down Superman, doesn't it? Anyway, I have a friend who has a
cat rescue and she was having a major outbreak of it causing havoc in and OUT of the litter boxes. It can become a major issue
when you have multiple cats.
Low and behold, I noticed that one of my own cats had developed diarrhea and went to her to see how she was handling it. I took a
stool sample to the local lab and the sample showed Cryptosporidium ! My cats are always indoors so how in the world could it
have happened? I'll explain below... In the meantime, take a moment to read what Dr. Haddix found on the subject.
|MEET SEBASTIAN! HE HAS AN
URGENT NEED FOR A NEW HOME!
Sebastion is currently living with his family,
but there are issues for one reason or
another. This past 6 months the other two
cats living in the home have made him the
target of their aggression. Sebastion is
getting beat up on a regular basis these
days and the owner feels as though he
would be a happier cat with another family.
Would you like to adopt him? He's all
caught up on his shots and is extremely
healthy. He's about 8 years old and is so
tired of looking around the corner before
he walks, in fear of getting pelted again.
To help, there's NO charge to adopt this
cat! There are stipulations for ownership
such as you promise not to de-claw him
and that you can provide him a happy,
healthy home. The adoptive family should
also have no other cats. Sebastion was
raised with a dog, so it 'could' be ok if you
have one. Want to know more? Please
email me HERE!!
CRYPTOSPORIDIOSIS IN PETS
Pets don’t use toilets or clean up after themselves.
So when a pet gets diarrhea, its owner suffers, too.
Diarrhea is most often a “passing” affliction but it may
become chronic. There are so many potential causes
of diarrhea it can be extremely difficult to get to the
“bottom” of the problem. In veterinary school we
learned how to methodically pursue the right
diagnosis with the aid of a complex and intricate
diagram dubbed the “Diarrhea Flow Chart.”
Final note from Deborah...
How did my cat develop Cryptosporidium? No one really knows for sure however,
I could have carried it from my friends home to my home. (I pet every single cat
she has). OR, and I like this one better... A few months prior to seeing one of my
cats developing diarrhea, I had allowed a stray outdoor cat into my home when it
was very cold. If this cat had it and used the litter box, that may very well have
been where the disease originated. I normally never allow stray 'anythings' into
my home, but my heart was so sad that this cat had to suffer through some very
cold nights, I couldn't resist pulling her in and keeping her warm.
So if you're a bleeding heart like me, be sure to keep a spare litter box ready to be
used for temporary situations like taking care of the local strays in times of need.
Also keep separate eating and drinking dishes ready and sterilize everything
when finished with bleach!
Pick me! Pick me!