Aby-a-Day – 21 Januari: Tritrichomonas Foetus (Medical Monday)

You may recall that Jacoby has been having some sort of vague mysterious ailment. We spent much of the summer shuttling to the djursjukhuset in Jönköping to try to figure out what the problem was. But we have finally gotten to the bottom of it. It took a while because I needed three separate fecal samples from Jake…and I was having a devil of a time catching him in the act! But finally the first week of September I got that third sample, and a week later Dr. Cecilia emailed me with the result: “Today I’ve finally recieved Jacoby’s fecal sample results. We have significant findings that may well explain his weight loss and (quite possibly) also his change in behavior. He has the parasite Tritrichomonas foetus that in chronic cases may induce chronic intestinal inflammations. He also has toxin-producing Clostridia in overgrowth.”

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TriTrich is a protozoan parasite that can infest multi-cat households. But it’s good news, right? At least we know what the problem is. I mean, we have already dealt with Giardia, which is a huge problem to deal with, and we managed to survive that…so TriTrich is at least better than that, right?

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Well, yes and no. Whilst Giardia is harder to kill in the house because the protozoa are shed encased in cysts which are hard to destroy, the medication is readily available in any Apotek. The TriTrich protozoa have no such protective “shells,” but the problem with treating TriTrich is that the medication for it, Ronidazole, is toxic. Like, wear rubber gloves when giving the pills (for four days), and also wear a face mask when cleaning the litterbox during medication and three days after the last pill has been given. Dr. Cecelia had to get specific licenses from Läkemedelsverket (the Swedish bureau that deals with prescription medication) for each cat based on their weight. This was delayed a bit because, as usual with Swedish government agencies, the instructions on the paperwork weren’t entirely clear, and there was an error on the original paperwork so it needed to be redone…and Läkemedelsverket only sends the denial notifications by snail mail.

But we finally got ahold of this highly-regulated, super-toxic medication, which I had to give to five cats once a day for fourteen days…yeah, good times. The exact written instructions were as follows: “All cats are treated with 1 capsule per day for 14 days. They are prescribed and will be sent directly home to you. The drug is toxic and is excreted through feces and urine. Therefore, you need to use disposable gloves and masks when you’re cleaning the litter boxes. The most common side effects (still uncommon), are neurological. Contact us immediately if any of the cats show any neurological abnormalities or other symptoms.” Now, that’s not at all daunting, is it? At least I’m not the only person who’s been through this! And hey, this time I didn’t get bitten, either!

I also had to bathe all the cats. I wasn’t sure when during the medication timeline I should bathe them all, so I emailed some researchers at North Carolina State University for advice, and was pleasantly surprised at their quick and helpful response! They told me: “To my knowledge, no one has looked at the optimal time for performing a disinfection during treatment for T. foetus (ie. at what point during the treatment, on average, is T. foetus no longer being shed by the cat). The good news is, the T. foetus organism is not particularly robust once outside the host. We have observed the organisms in feces are no longer viable 24hrs after being voided into a litter pan, in the absence of litter; the presence of litter likely speeds the process up via desiccation of the feces.” So, towards the end of the dosage period, we cleaned one room, washed all the cats, locked the cats up in the clean room and then cleaned the rest of the house. We used liberal amounts of Virkon (which is actually better than bleach for sanitizing – and without the smell and turning things white).

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Another importan part of eradicating TriTrich is to thoroughly clean all the litterboxes, since it is mainly transmitted in feces.

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It wasn’t easy, cleaning six litterboxes, but between the two bathrooms, I managed to wash them all.

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We got all the freshly cleaned boxes back in their places…

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…and filled them up with clean, fresh litter. We use two types, PeeWee pine pellets, which are wonderful, and Cat’s Best Öko, which is a plant-based wood fibre clumping litter. Both of these make collecting fecal samples very easy – much easier than clay litter.

This is important, because once we were done with the medication and the bathing and the cleaning, we needed to test all five cats’ poops. Which involved catching each cat “in the act,” so to speak. Izaak and Lorelai were easy – just catch them when we’re at a cat show. Jacoby, as well, was simple: he eats in a room with a box in it, so just catch him after he’s been fed. But Alfred and Angel…it took me weeks to catch them, especially Angel! I finally managed it, though…

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So now, we are TriTrich free…no diarrhea at all, and Jake seems happier and less growly, although he still hisses and growls at the younger cats…but I think now it’s just become a habit to be a grumpy old man towards them more than an actual medical symptom.

(And yeah, I wasn’t going to post a photo of anyone actually using a box, so have a shot of Jake having his perfect teeth checked instead.)

Aby-a-Day – 4 May: “Oy with the poodles already”

You may remember my post last Thursday, I mentioned that, before we even knew Logan was sick, we had arranged to get another Aby kitten. What happened was, at the Scandinavian Winners show, I was across the aisle from an Aby breeder from Uppsala, and she had a very cute sign on top of her cage saying she had kittens available. So I took one of her little slips of paper, which said that not only did she have kittens…but they were blue kittens!

I showed the paper to Björn, and unlike most normal, sane husbands, he did NOT say, “Are you freaking kidding me? Another cat!? No more cats without a divorce!” but instead said, “Are they show quality? And…maybe a girl kitten? She could be a show friend for Logan, and I could show her while you show Logan…”

So yeah. That happened. And then we found out Logan was sick…but tomorrow we are collecting Lorelai (Rory for short).

Now, everybody say it with me, “FIP is NOT contagious“…but I still want to be as careful as possible. So I’ve been cleaning the house, cat beds, toys, everything with Virkon. If you aren’t familiar with this miracle potion, you should be. It has no smell. You can spray it, dip things into it, mist it over the population (for example, in chicken coops). You can put it in a steam floor cleaner. You can use it as a pre-wash in the laundry. You can even use it as a shampoo on animals and livestock! So I have gotten the place as clean as I can so at least I know I did everything I possibly could.

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I also scrubbed and sanitised all the litter boxes and Litter Lockers and put in all fresh litter (That’s them all piled up outside the bathroom, where I hosed them down in our tub using the shower massage). Since moving to Sweden, we’ve gone to Pee Wee pine pellet litter (and the special boxes that go with it) in five of our six boxes. The other box contains Majstor a clumping, corn-based litter. When we got rid of clay for once and for all, Pyret refused to use the pellets, so this was a compromise she accepted. After she died, at least one cat was still using it, so we kept it on, and now I guess we’ll just keep on using at least one box of it just in case.

Both of them are brilliant, though: light, inexpensive, virtually dust-free, and almost odourless!

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Here are all the shiny, clean boxes back in their places and waiting for fresh, unsullied litter.

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And here they are all filled up!

Another thing I like to do when adding a new family member is to bathe the newcomer, not only to reduce introduction of any germs unfamiliar to our household from the kitten’s home, but to make the newcomer smell less different.. But this time around, I thought not of bathing just Rory…but of bathing the resident cats here as well. Afterall, germs, and smells, can go both ways. Jacoby, Alfred and Logan all got baths shortly after they came home, and so shall Rory when she comes home tomorrow. Besides, Jake, Freddy and Angel haven’t had baths for a while, so they were due.

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So here.

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Enjoy some photos of wet pussies.

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(Not exactly sure what was going on here…)

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Of course, Abys never look wet for very long.