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Identifying Genetic Differences in an Emerging Parasite in Cats

The parasite Tritrichomonas foetus produces significant reproductive problems in cattle and is rapidly emerging as a serious problem in cats. T. foetus infection in cats produces prolonged and intractable diarrhea, often leading to large-bowel disease. Studies have not yet determined whether feline and bovine isolates are distinct species, although drug assays have revealed different sensitivities between the isolates. In this study, researchers will evaluate and compare multiple isolates of the parasite to determine their genetic differences. This will allow development of more effective therapeutics and preventive strategies and shed light on the potential transmission of this parasite to cats.

Dr. Rebecca P. Wilkes, University of Tennessee