Is it giardia? (Giardiasis)

Koolkat13

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Hi there. I’ll get right to it.
I have 2 cats ages 3 & 4. Both rescued from different shelters at different times. I got Kazie first. He had diarrhea & rectal bleeding from the start. Fecal test was negative. I got Fitz a couple months later & pretty soon they both have chronic, unholy smelling diarrhea. More fecal tests. Kazie’s is positive for Giardiasis. Basically, $200 in fecal tests, 3 rounds of Panacur & 1 round of Metronidazole later I think we beat it back in 2021-ish.
Well, all the symptoms are back. Both cats. I wonder if I got a batch of infected Fancy Feast. I open a can a few weeks ago & there’s a perfect paw print pressed into the pate. Maybe a raccoon or possum? Pic below. Obviously, a dirty cat food factory.
Got Kazie’s poop tested. NEGATIVE.
I know giardia sheds intermittently. Is there a trick to knowing when to test? I can’t afford to spend hundreds more $$$ on fecal tests. I’m utilizing a cheaper clinic opposed to my regular vet & was told they can’t (won’t) medicate both cats unless both test positive.
Any advice on how to navigate this system? I am very low-income. Like, on disability, under $1,000/mo low-income.
Or any suggestions on what could give 2 young, healthy cats hellish diarrhea? They eat fairly high-quality food (aside from the Fancy Feast).
I’ve been wiping cat butts & sterilizing my home’s surfaces for over a month now. I’m pretty beat.
Oh, and they are not vomiting or losing weight. It’s just the eye-watering, gaggingly awful smelling diarrhea.
I find it unlikely that 2 unrelated cats would have the exact same reaction to some food ingredient but I’m in the process of eliminating food items just to be safe.
Whew! That was a lot. Thanks for reading 😺
Photos:
1. Paw print in freshly opened can of Fancy Feast Chopped Grill Pate (Jan. 2023)
2. Kazie’s paw
3. Fitz’s paw
You can clearly see that print was not caused by my cats. It’s not even cat shaped.
 

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stephanietx

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I would send the lot or batch number to Fancy Feast and try a different variety or brand. If the symptoms continue, I would get the PCR diarrhea panel and/or ask for some gastro food from the vet to get things settled down and start introducing regular canned food back into the diet.
 
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Koolkat13

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Oh, I fully intend on informing Fancy Feast/Purina of the mystery paw print. Was waiting until Kazie’s fecal test results came back because I thought I’d be telling them they’re spreading parasites. But the test was technically negative. I can’t claim they definitively contracted something from the food. And I’m working on eliminating Fancy Feast altogether but it’s a challenge. Cats get downright ADDICTED to that junk.
I don’t know what the difference is between a fecal parasite test & a PCR diarrhea panel.
I will look into that.
Have had cats my whole life & not one has suffered from poop issues like these two.
It’s new & gross territory.
Thanks, stephanietx.
 

Drusilla&Finn

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Hi my two kitties never had any poop issue until the beginning of this month. We feed fancy feast as well. They had a fecal test 2/4 and it came back negative. They were put on flagyl to help and the diarrhea went away quick. Then 2 days after finishing it the diarrhea was back. We thought it might have been their other food so we’ve been slowly switching but the past few days I’ve been thinking it’s the fancy feast and I stopped giving it to them. It’s weird that they both have tummy stuff at the same time after months on the same foods so we are ruling out any worms/Giardia.
Took them back today vet gave us Panacur, probiotics, and prescription food to reset their stomachs. We are ruling a lot of things out bc they have no history of parasites or stomach issues. I really think it’s the fancy feast. I’ve been hunting to see if anyone else is having these problems!
I’m at my wits end with this. I feel bad for the cats but thank god they have zero symptoms besides diarrhea. They still are eating drinking going potty and playing like maniacs as usual. I feel horrible and the constant cleaning has been horrible bc my girl is highly anxious and when the diarrhea happens it hurts/scares her and she goes running out of the box half way as poop keeps coming out all over my house! Then her brother thinks she’s got the zoomies and playing so he chases her which scares her even more and the splotches of poop continue. Also our whole house but kitchen is carpet so it’s been horrific here! I’m praying it’s not giardia bc there’s only so much sanitizing I can do when it’s spread out everywhere outside the box and I’m afraid I will get it too lol
 

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Koolkat13

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Hi my two kitties never had any poop issue until the beginning of this month. We feed fancy feast as well. They had a fecal test 2/4 and it came back negative. They were put on flagyl to help and the diarrhea went away quick. Then 2 days after finishing it the diarrhea was back. We thought it might have been their other food so we’ve been slowly switching but the past few days I’ve been thinking it’s the fancy feast and I stopped giving it to them. It’s weird that they both have tummy stuff at the same time after months on the same foods so we are ruling out any worms/Giardia.
Took them back today vet gave us Panacur, probiotics, and prescription food to reset their stomachs. We are ruling a lot of things out bc they have no history of parasites or stomach issues. I really think it’s the fancy feast. I’ve been hunting to see if anyone else is having these problems!
I’m at my wits end with this. I feel bad for the cats but thank god they have zero symptoms besides diarrhea. They still are eating drinking going potty and playing like maniacs as usual. I feel horrible and the constant cleaning has been horrible bc my girl is highly anxious and when the diarrhea happens it hurts/scares her and she goes running out of the box half way as poop keeps coming out all over my house! Then her brother thinks she’s got the zoomies and playing so he chases her which scares her even more and the splotches of poop continue. Also our whole house but kitchen is carpet so it’s been horrific here! I’m praying it’s not giardia bc there’s only so much sanitizing I can do when it’s spread out everywhere outside the box and I’m afraid I will get it too lol
I read your post while brushing my teeth this morning & have been thinking about it all day. Our experiences are so similar. You’ve inspired me to start the Fancy Feast detox sooner than I initially intended.
Like your kitties, mine were also just as hungry, playful, & affectionate as usual. The past 2 days have been bad for Kazie though as the diarrhea progressed to multiple times a day.
I feel your pain with the cleanup issues. How do you disinfect carpet?! A steam cleaner, I guess but that’s extreme. I’m toying with the idea of trying my handheld clothing steamer on the carpet. The cats know something’s wrong. If I’m unable to scoop the poop immediately they will obsessively try to bury it, sometimes getting poo all over their paws in the process.
I actually had a terrible stomach bug last 2 weeks in the midst of the cats’ digestive issues. Have only been back on my feet a few days now. I vaguely wondered if it was related but brushed it off as coincidence. Now I’m not so sure. As I research this topic, I find that the quality of cat food is quickly declining (while prices soar) & there actually are bacterias that both human & cat are susceptible to. Norovirus is one. Clostridium difficile (c. diff) is another. There may be a contaminated cat food factory out there.
I’m really interested to hear how things pan out for you & your furry little ones, if you don’t mind posting updates.
Thanks for sharing!
 
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Koolkat13

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(
In general, a fecal parasite panel is less sensitive than a PCR test and can miss some parasites. If there is anything which seems undecided about the first panel, a PCR may be done in order to be conclusive. Antech says that they will have a very sensitive test available very shortly.
New diagnostic test could replace fecals (or at least reduce how much sample you need to collect)
[/QUOTE]
That’s really interesting. I’ll have to see if my vet’s office is able to do that test. If not, it looks like you might be able to order one online & mail it in. Costs about $250.
It’s good to have options. Yay, science!
I really appreciate you taking the time to make that suggestion.
 

Drusilla&Finn

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I read your post while brushing my teeth this morning & have been thinking about it all day. Our experiences are so similar. You’ve inspired me to start the Fancy Feast detox sooner than I initially intended.
Like your kitties, mine were also just as hungry, playful, & affectionate as usual. The past 2 days have been bad for Kazie though as the diarrhea progressed to multiple times a day.
I feel your pain with the cleanup issues. How do you disinfect carpet?! A steam cleaner, I guess but that’s extreme. I’m toying with the idea of trying my handheld clothing steamer on the carpet. The cats know something’s wrong. If I’m unable to scoop the poop immediately they will obsessively try to bury it, sometimes getting poo all over their paws in the process.
I actually had a terrible stomach bug last 2 weeks in the midst of the cats’ digestive issues. Have only been back on my feet a few days now. I vaguely wondered if it was related but brushed it off as coincidence. Now I’m not so sure. As I research this topic, I find that the quality of cat food is quickly declining (while prices soar) & there actually are bacterias that both human & cat are susceptible to. Norovirus is one. Clostridium difficile (c. diff) is another. There may be a contaminated cat food factory out there.
I’m really interested to hear how things pan out for you & your furry little ones, if you don’t mind posting updates.
Thanks for sharing!
Yes it’s so weird that it’s so similar! I would definitely cut out the fancy feast better safe than sorry! Drusilla’s diarrhea was starting to get 2 times a day before the vet. She hasn’t gone diarrhea since the vet but she didn’t get her dinner portion the night before. Plus the vet had us immediately switch to the new food not slowly transition and probiotics I think she might be a little constipated now. I found a really small regular poop that was probably hers this morning but it happened while I was asleep so I can’t be sure. My boy Finn pooped in front of me and it was 100% solid but he was a bit constipated.
For the carpets I got oxiclean laundry sanitizer. It said I could use it on carpet and fabric items too. I have a carpet shampoo machine so I’ve been using the oxiclean with it. They have a bed in the litter box room so we’ve been washing that stuff in the oxiclean as well. It gives me hives even after washing it again with no oxiclean but I’m super allergy prone.
both people in our house have also been having some stomach issues but we both usually have sensitive stomachs but we’ve been wondering if that is related also.Both of us have been feeling better too. But another coincidence with our stories. Ive been freaked out the cats gave us giardia or something or we gave the cats something.
Digestive problems with pets is so frustrating I wish they could talk to us I feel so bad. It’s so difficult to find the cause there are so many factors involved. I’m hoping the dewormer, probiotics, and/or the food resolves their problems for good. So far it has helped at least the boy cat. I will keep you updated as things progress it’s only been two days but I’m hopeful. I hope your kitties start feeling better I would definitely stop the fancy feast and maybe order a probiotic and see how that helps!
 

stephanietx

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A PCR test will test for more specific parasites that cause diarrhea. A fecal float done in the vet's office tests for the most common. You can look up PCR Diarrhea panel and get more info.
 
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Koolkat13

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Yes it’s so weird that it’s so similar! I would definitely cut out the fancy feast better safe than sorry! Drusilla’s diarrhea was starting to get 2 times a day before the vet. She hasn’t gone diarrhea since the vet but she didn’t get her dinner portion the night before. Plus the vet had us immediately switch to the new food not slowly transition and probiotics I think she might be a little constipated now. I found a really small regular poop that was probably hers this morning but it happened while I was asleep so I can’t be sure. My boy Finn pooped in front of me and it was 100% solid but he was a bit constipated.
For the carpets I got oxiclean laundry sanitizer. It said I could use it on carpet and fabric items too. I have a carpet shampoo machine so I’ve been using the oxiclean with it. They have a bed in the litter box room so we’ve been washing that stuff in the oxiclean as well. It gives me hives even after washing it again with no oxiclean but I’m super allergy prone.
both people in our house have also been having some stomach issues but we both usually have sensitive stomachs but we’ve been wondering if that is related also.Both of us have been feeling better too. But another coincidence with our stories. Ive been freaked out the cats gave us giardia or something or we gave the cats something.
Digestive problems with pets is so frustrating I wish they could talk to us I feel so bad. It’s so difficult to find the cause there are so many factors involved. I’m hoping the dewormer, probiotics, and/or the food resolves their problems for good. So far it has helped at least the boy cat. I will keep you updated as things progress it’s only been two days but I’m hopeful. I hope your kitties start feeling better I would definitely stop the fancy feast and maybe order a probiotic and see how that helps!
Hi again,
I have a little more info, but no absolute answers.
I put my cats on a strict Fancy Feast detox. Again, similar to yours, they ended up a little constipated at first. Then Fitz's poop firmed up, mostly. And Kazie's poop was still about 1/2 and 1/2. They were so mad at me for taking away their gross Fancy Feast. After days of them refusing the healthy food, begging and begging, and being monsters in general... I gave in. I grudgingly served them Fancy Feast for breakfast & Kazie had diarrhea IMMEDIATELY after eating and then 2 more times that day.
A few details on what went on with my health - One week after the kittys' tummy troubles began, my own issues started up. Vomiting, diarrhea, aches, fatigue, chills, sweats. I frequently get headaches, migraines, sinus infections, but very rarely have even a rumble in my stomach. In about 2 weeks' time the nausea and diarrhea subsided. That was shortly before I nixed the Fancy Feast. I'm still feeling kind of rotten though, so go to the doctor. (Ended up getting an ulcer caused by the irritation of so much barfing). I'm giving my doc the rundown and I insist that I wash my hands every time I handle the cats' waste. Then she asks if I wash my hands after handling their food. I say "no..." As a matter of fact, I accidentally stirred my coffee with the cat food spoon around the time all of this began.
She says it is absolutely possible for certain bacteria, viruses and parasites to infect both cats and humans. Cats have more acidic stomachs because they're built to digest raw meat, so it makes sense that my symptoms were so much worse. It all seems to be adding up to a Fancy Feast factory being infested with something. But wouldn't more people be reporting similar stories?
The good news for me is that parasitic infections do not get better without treatment. The fact that I have improved leans more toward it being a bacterial or viral infection. I still plan to have the cats' poo retested pretty soon here. Better than having my own poo tested. (Ew)
I also love Oxy Clean spray! I get a little nervous about using it on carpet now, though. Some years back I had an older cat that would vomit on a specific area rug. I cleaned it with Oxy and all was good with the world. But I guess I wasn't able to rinse it out thoroughly and after several months, those spots bleached out slightly. The rug in question happens to get direct sun for a few hours in the morning so it could have been a reaction due to that.
Wrapping up the Fancy Feast diarrhea saga:
Kazie and Fitz are coming around to their new foods. We're trying American Journey pate, Merrick Limited Ingredient pate, and Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse (on occasion. because it's really, really expensive). Didn't get around to a probiotic yet because they've had so many drastic diet changes. It's on my list for the near future.
Fitz is doing great. He's very regular and has healthy, firm poos.
Kazie is all over the place. Some good poos, some runny, sometimes constipated. But he has a sensitive tummy due to awful living conditions he was subjected to as a kitten, before being rescued.
If anything turns up in his future fecal tests I will update here.
I'd also like to start a post under the nutrition heading asking for others' experience with Fancy Feast. Not sure when exactly I'll get around to doing it, but I will post a link to it here when I do.
I hope Drusilla and Finn are doing well. Really cute names, by the way :-)
Thanks for reading!
 

fionasmom

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I do agree with you that it would seem that if Fancy Feast were spreading infections or parasites that it might be more documented; however, I am not going to disagree with any of the advice that your doctor is giving you in order to protect yourself from becoming sick again.

I wash my hands after handling cat food, after cleaning litter boxes, and after interacting with the ferals outside which includes even picking up their paper plates and throwing them away..

Cats | Healthy Pets, Healthy People | CDC

Please keep us updated!
 
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Koolkat13

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Parasite test update:
The first fecal test I had done was soon before I started this post.
Test from 02/16/23 = NEGATIVE
Because Giardia can be sneaky and hard to detect, I waited a few weeks and retested.
Test from 03/12/23 = NEGATIVE

Conclusion:
It seems unlikely that Fancy Feast is infected with parasites.
It is most likely unsanitary factory conditions combined with the poor quality of the food itself (meat by-products, fish, and artificial additives) that is causing kitties' GI upsets.

I used a VIP Pet Care rotating clinic for my cat's parasite testing and vaccines. Getting the results takes forrr...evvv...errr...
It's pretty much a service for people that have far more time than money. You have to stand in line for hours and then wait on hold for hours to talk to customer service for records and test results. It sucks, but to someone like me that is low income, but cares deeply about my cats and their health, it is worth it.
vippetcare.com
In case anyone else needs affordable vet services.
 

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fionasmom

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Those are gorgeous, well cared for cats and you are being very proactive with their healthcare and that is what counts. Are Fitz and Kazie doing better....or it was Kazie who was still a little shaky about everything?
 
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