Objective—To determine prevalence of enteric zoonotic organisms in cats in north-central Colorado.
Sample Population—Serum and fecal samples from 87 cats with diarrhea, 106 cats without diarrhea, and 12 cats for which fecal consistency was unknown.
Procedures—Samples were obtained from clientowned cats and cats at a humane society shelter. Serum was assayed for feline leukemia virus antigen and antibodies against feline immunodeficiency virus, IgM antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii, and IgG antibodies against T gondii and Cryptosporidium parvum. Microscopic examination of unstained feces was performed after centrifugation in a zinc sulfate solution, thin fecal smears were stained with acid fast stain and examined for C parvum, and bacteriologic culture of feces was used to detect aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.
Results—Enteric zoonotic organisms were detected in feces from 27 of 206 (13.1%) cats and included C parvum (5.4%), Giardia spp (2.4%), Toxocara cati (3.9%), Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium (1.0%), and Campylobacter jejuni (1.0%); each organism was detected in samples from cats with and without diarrhea. Although differences between groups were not significant, a higher proportion of shelter cats (18.2%) had enteric zoonotic organisms than client-owned cats (10.1%).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Enteric zoonotic organisms were detected in feces of 13.1% of cats, suggesting that cats, particularly those in homes of immunocompromised humans, should be evaluated for enteric zoonotic organisms. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:687–692)