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NancyH
NancyH, Cat Health, Behavior, Care Expert
Category: Cat
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Experience:  30+ years cat owner, rescue, breeding, study of behavior & health care
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Bengal kittens with resistant giardia

Customer Question

5 and 6 month old bengal kittens with resistant giardia ever since I got them from bengal cat breeder when they are 10 weeks old (the older one came to our house first with diarrhea problems, and the second one got the diarrhea few weeks after she came to our house (the second one had normal stools at first). Direct and float fecal tests were done several times and it didn't show anything, but IFA test that cost over $200 finally showed giardia. Panacur made their diarrhea (some mucous and trace of fresh blood included) worse, and Flagyl helped only a little bit (first half of their stools are firm and formed, and the rest being soft and semi-formed or diarrhea). These treatments were repeated several times with increased dosage, but they did not help much. Their stools are firmer and formed sometimes in the morning, but their stools at night tend to be diarrhea. And their diarrhea get worse if we keep them on laminated wood floor (our living room), and they do better if they're kept in a carpeted bedroom. Their diarrhea get worse if dry kibbles are fed, and only one type of cat canned food (Prairie by Nature's Variety - not available in Hawaii where I live, so I have to order them from mainland). We'll try Albenzadole and possibly giardia vaccines to see if these can help, but any suggestions appreciated. Please help...I'm running out of money by going to the vet so often. Thank you!!
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  NancyH replied 11 years ago.
I would consider a possible food sensitivity as you said you got the kittens from the same breeder that may be made worse by the giardia problem.
You can look at foods here and compare the protein sources, grains and preservatives to see if you can find a combination available to you that might help
http://www.naturapet.com/display.php?d=comp-wiz
As you state the cats are worse on your wood floors and better on carpet try and think what products you use in one room and not the other. This could be a chemical sensitivity to a product used on the floor or depending on the wood a problem with the wood itself.
If you have not tried adding fiber to the diet you might try that - metamucil can help diarrhea.
If you have not tried a home cooked diet to give their intestinal tracts a rest before going back to cat food you might try that too. You'll know its human grade ingredients if you cook it yourself! There are books on the topic and your vet may be able to give you a sheet of recipes too
You might consider a raw diet
http://www.westonaprice.org/healthissues/feeding_pets.html
to see if they do better on that too.
You may find this site that discusses inflammatory bowel disease useful
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_inflammatory_bowel_disease.html
Hope this helps you!
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Nancy Holmes's Post: Thank you for your reply, Nancy.
I did go to naturapet's website as I have tried Innova (canned), and Innova EVO (dry kibbles) in the past to see if they can help. Innova EVO caused watery and explosive diarrhea and I had to stop it. I occasionally give Innova canned cat food, but Prarie (by Nature's Variety) seemed to firm their stools the best. I've pretty much tried just about all the cat canned foods I can think of, but nothing can cure the giardia by cat foods themselves. I did try BARF diet in the past and worked for few days. My vet suggested that I cook the meat to avoid salmonella and e. coli, and once I fed the cooked meat, they threw up immediately. Afterward, both my kittens regurgitate the home made meals (cooked and raw meats), so I had to give up on that as well. I didn't try metamucil yet - so I'll get back to you on that. Originally both my vet and I suspected that my kittens may have either IBS or IBD, but since it was contagious (the first kitten gave the giardia to the second kitten who didn't have diarrhea before), I'm looking for a cure or improvement for resistant giardia rather than IBD.... I know that giardia can be cured fairly easily with Flagyl or Panacur in most cases, but there are some resistant cases and that's what I was hoping to find out more about. Thanks again.
Expert:  NancyH replied 11 years ago.
You might compare ingredients there - if you can look at the foods that make things worse you may find a grain or preservative that could be a trigger.
Some places us Albon in the water bowl for life of their animals.
You might ask the cattery owner what he or she uses.
BARF diet as on the page I sent you to includes disinfecting raw meats and vegetables before they are used. Many of the raw diets 'forget' that little bit of trivia and cause problems.
It *might* be contagious or it might be both cats are sensitive to something and it took exposure for the second one to react to it.
What I found with giardia (in puppies from another home) is that it seems to put the intestinal tract in a tailspin even after you kill off the protozoans. So a combination of bland diet and treatment with Flagyl worked best for me. I used plain Pedialyte in the water bowl instead of water too.
Also you might just want to test your water source - you may be accidentally reinfecting the kittens with something you are not being bothered by.
The wood floor reaction makes me wonder about a chemical sensitivity too.
You may find the kittens mature and overcome - kitten immune systems are no where near as good as the ones in adult cats.
Make sure you are disinfecting the litter box as often as you can manage too. Anything to reduce potential reinfection. I bath animals with coccidia or giardia to make sure they do not ingest any fecal materials when washing themselves (though with Bengals that might be an exciting bath!)
This site on the topic suggests another med to use
http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/giardiasis.html
for refractory infections - fenbendazole.
And this site says
http://www.hdw-inc.com/healthgiardiasis.htm
about giardia in bengals!
What are the treatments? There are 3 drugs available in the United States to treat Giardiasis: quinacrine (Atabrine), metronidazole (Flagyl) and furazolidone (Furoxone). These are all prescription drugs, and must be authorized by a veterinarian for animal use. There have been cases reported of strains of Giardia that are resistant to these medications. If all other treatments have failed, Cheryl P., a vet tech trainee in Ontario, Canada, has suggested that 1 cc. twice daily of Aloe Vera Juice (available at most health food stores and many supermarkets) be given orally for about 4 weeks, or until the Giardia is gone. This treatment should certainly be discussed with your veterinarian prior to trying it with your own feline, and is mentioned here only as another option to discuss with your professional vet in the event that the Giardia you are dealing with in your kitty is not responding to the other traditional medications. All medications, including herbal remedies such as aloe vera, may have potentially serious side effects and should only be used with the knowledge and approval of your veterinarian.

Maybe that will give you more things to try.
If your wood floor can handle being bleached maybe a bleach solution to clean it will help with them being able to be on it.

You might also want to try boiling the water you give them for 20 minutes and cooling it before putting it in their water bowls.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Nancy Holmes's Post: Thank you again Nancy for prompt and detailed reply. Since the main source of giardia tend to be from water, we give them purified and filtered water. I disinfect the litterbox with 1:30 bleach:water. I thought that Bengals love water, but my kittens hate it to be washed! I actually did go to the websites that you listed - I spent days searching for the cure for last few months on the internet! And I did read about Aloe Vera Juice that Mike Richard, DVM mentioned in his website. And my kittens are kept in one carpeted bedroom to avoid exposure to the laminated wood floor (I suspect the glue used in the laminated floor, but not for sure). But giardia still continues without any exposure to the laminated floor. Albenzadole is supposedly 40X stronger tha Metronizadole, so that is my last resort - I was hesitent of using it since the side effect such as seizure are serious. Since they did tested positive for giardia, I am not sure if diet alteration (BARF, etc), can cure giardia. Thank you so much again for your input, Nancy. But after spending days searching for cure to this resistant giardia, I did hit the website you listed above (Fenbenzadole is panacur and it made the diarrhea much worse). The water, and diet are modified as well early in the treatment, but none of them cure it (although helped improve to some extent)....
Expert:  NancyH replied 11 years ago.
Yes I'm not sure animals really get 'cured' of the protozoans or if they just eventually develop an immune response to them despite what we give them for meds (if they do).
The deal with the foods is immune response is better if the body is not fighting another issue too such as food sensitivity.
I don't think Aloe can hurt. If you've not tried it on them you might try swapping their water bowl to it. If they get worse you can stop it of course.
I can see you have been pulling out all stops on trying to find a cure!
Looking around at just diarrhea issues - did you try Immodium? or an antacid such as
famotidine (Pepcid AC tm) or ranitidine ( Xantac Rx) ?
You may have started with giardia but now be fighting repercussions from that infection rather than the continued infection.

Did you contact the breeder for help? sometimes they can be helpful!

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
No I haven't tried Immodium or any other antacid since giardia usually attacks the small intestine instead of stomach. I considered the food sensitivity as well, but my vet explained that it normally develops after 1 year of age, not at 10 weeks or 6 months. The breeder denied that my first kitten had any diarrhea and suggested that it must be food intolerance to some cat foods. But the second one got infected from the first one and I don't see how this can be a food intolerance. To make things worse, the breeder moved from Hawaii to North Carolina right after I adopted the second kitten, so they won't be much help. I always had the aloe vera juice in mind if all fails (after albendazole and giardia vaccination), but I guess I was hoping that there's something else that we could try in case all fails. Thank you again for your prompt e-mails and assistance. But I guess I spent too much time searching for the cure for the past few months and nothing else seems to be new information.
Expert:  NancyH replied 11 years ago.
In my experience Imodium slows down the entire peristalysis process giving it more time to absorb fluids. Sometimes just slowing the process down helps recovery.
Check out the how it works section at www.imodium.com

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