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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 27433
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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My Bengal kitten (10 mths old) has had very loose stools

Customer Question

My Bengal kitten (10 mths old) has had very loose stools since I brought him home from the breeder. I've had him seen by the vet but to date we have not had a clear answer or result as to what causes the diarrhea or how to treat it. Leo is otherwise a very fit and healthy kitten who is growing and putting on weight. At the moment we feed him cooked chicken and water prescribed by the vet
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
There is also fresh blood in his stool most of the time as well
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 months ago.

Melinda, I can understand your frustration. Although diarrhea in kittens is a common and frustrating condition there is very little published research on the specific causes and treatments in this age group. For chronic diarrhea a specific diagnosis should be made and treatment should be targeted. The inappropriate use of antibiotics to treat diarrhea which is all too common should be discouraged. They alter the commensal intestinal microflora, are likely to worsen the diarrhea, and induce antibiotic resistance.

The most common causes of diarrhea in kittens are infectious agents, primarily parasites and viruses. The bacteria Enterococcus spp. is now also known to cause diarrhea and a failure to thrive in kittens. A comprehensive fecal examination is an important first step in diagnosis. The next level of diagnostics would include PCR (DNA-based) testings and immunoassays for Giardia spp., Tritrichomonas, and Cryptosporidium. Tritrichomonas and Crytosporidium are important considerations in cats from catteries. Hematochezia (blood in the stool) is seen with both Cryptosporidium and Tritrichomonas. It's important to note that bacterial enteropathogens and toxins are commonly found in asymptomatic kittens as well as those with diarrhea making interpretation difficult and so fecal cultures and toxin analysis are probably best reserved for specific situations such as kittens with bloody diarrhea and evidence of sepsis. In general, for kittens with chronic diarrhea where no diagnosis has yet been made and response to therapy is poor, repeating previously negative diagnostic tests is more rewarding than intestinal biopsy.

It's acceptable to administer a broad-spectrum anthelminthic to kittens with diarrhea even in the face of negative fecal examinations. My preference is fenbendazole administered for 7 consecutive days. Fenbendazole addresses all of the nematodes as well as the protozoan Giardia. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 months ago.
Hi Melinda,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Leo. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin

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