Tritrichomonas foetus

  • Tritrichomonas foetus

Microbestiary Photo Contest Third Place

About this microbe:

Trich: This photo shows a few examples of Tritrichomonas foetus (Trich for short), a parasite that is commonly found in the reproductive tracts of cattle. This parasite is known to occasionally jump species, and in this specific case, was found in the stool sample of a sick cat, nick-named “Lizzy” for our case study. This picture, though blurry, was interesting, as you can observe the undulating membrane that the parasite uses to help it move (seen as a squiggly line on the oval-like shape on the left of the picture). Trich in a cattle herd can cause a string of abortions, and bulls that carry it do not show any outward signs of infection. While cows that are infected can eventually get rid of the parasite, bulls that become infected are afflicted for life. In cats, like our poor Lizzy, it is an intestinal parasite and causes diarrhea (especially in young cats and kittens). Thankfully, in cats, unlike in bulls, it can be effectively eliminated, though it may take some time.

Image: Erin Bentley