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Use of a commercially available culture system for diagnosis of Tritrichomonas foetus infection in cats

Jody L. GookinDepartment of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Derek M. FosterDepartment of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Matthew F. PooreDepartment of Food Animal and Health Resource Management, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Marty E. StebbinsDepartment of Food Animal and Health Resource Management, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Michael G. LevyDepartment of Food Animal and Health Resource Management, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the efficacy of and optimize a commercially available culture system for sensitive and specific in-clinic culture of Tritrichomonas foetus from cat feces.

Design—Prospective study.

Sample Population—Samples of freshly voided feces from 117 purebred cats and pure cultures of T foetus obtained from a cat with chronic diarrhea.

Procedure—Optimal conditions for use of the culture system, such as quantity of fecal inoculum (0.025 to 0.2 g) and cultivation temperature (25 or 37°C [98.6 or 77.0°F]), were determined. Specificity of the system was examined by attempted culture of Giardia lamblia and Pentatrichomonas hominis. Sensitivity of the system to detect T foetus was determined by inoculation of culture system pouches with serially diluted T foetus suspensions with and without feces.

Results—Detection limit of the culture system was 1 and 1,000 T foetus organisms without and with feces from cats, respectively. Optimal fecal inoculum was < 0.1 g of feces. At 37°C, cultures yielded positive results in 24 hours; organisms remained viable for 1 to 6 days, and bacterial overgrowth was common. At 25°C, cultures yielded positive results in 1 to 11 days; organisms were long-lived, and bacterial overgrowth was uncommon. Neither G lamblia or P hominis survived in the culture system.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The culture system was sensitive and specific for culture of T foetus in feces of cats. Performance was optimal when test kits were inoculated with ≤ 0.1 g of freshly voided feces and cultured at 25°C. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:1376–1379)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the efficacy of and optimize a commercially available culture system for sensitive and specific in-clinic culture of Tritrichomonas foetus from cat feces.

Design—Prospective study.

Sample Population—Samples of freshly voided feces from 117 purebred cats and pure cultures of T foetus obtained from a cat with chronic diarrhea.

Procedure—Optimal conditions for use of the culture system, such as quantity of fecal inoculum (0.025 to 0.2 g) and cultivation temperature (25 or 37°C [98.6 or 77.0°F]), were determined. Specificity of the system was examined by attempted culture of Giardia lamblia and Pentatrichomonas hominis. Sensitivity of the system to detect T foetus was determined by inoculation of culture system pouches with serially diluted T foetus suspensions with and without feces.

Results—Detection limit of the culture system was 1 and 1,000 T foetus organisms without and with feces from cats, respectively. Optimal fecal inoculum was < 0.1 g of feces. At 37°C, cultures yielded positive results in 24 hours; organisms remained viable for 1 to 6 days, and bacterial overgrowth was common. At 25°C, cultures yielded positive results in 1 to 11 days; organisms were long-lived, and bacterial overgrowth was uncommon. Neither G lamblia or P hominis survived in the culture system.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The culture system was sensitive and specific for culture of T foetus in feces of cats. Performance was optimal when test kits were inoculated with ≤ 0.1 g of freshly voided feces and cultured at 25°C. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:1376–1379)