H. Pylori in cats?

I just learned something new and thought I’d jot it down here so I have it written down somewhere.  Also there are several people I’ve spoken to recently who are fighting intermittent and/or chronic vomiting in their cats.  This may or may not be something to consider.  Usually the vets will have you trying elimination diets attempting to chase down a food allergy.

Do you (those of you who are old enough) remember the days when our parents spoke a lot about stomach ulcers.  My dad used to say things like “he’s feeding his ulcer,” or “you are going to give me an ulcer with that attitude young lady.”  People were given anti-acids, put on special diets and told to keep the stress down in their lives.  Then the big discovery that ulcers were caused by a bacteria.  Well, apparently that bacteria is Heliocobacter (H. Pylori).

An email came through my in box this morning from my feline health list.  A kitten adopted out from one breeder was having gastric issues and the family was at their wits end in trying to find help for the kitty.  Another breeder answered that she’d had  a similar experience with a pet buyer recently.  After expensive tests, X-rays and exploratory surgery the cat was PCR tested. The results came back positive for h. Pylori.   The cat was treated with antibiotics and short term steroids and is now fine.  Of course this it completely anecdotal and should be taken with a grain of salt.  Every case is going to be different and should be diagnose properly.  However, it made me curious.  I found the following article from the World Small Animal Veterinarian Association World Congress.  It’s a little dated — 2001.  However it states that Helicobacter is found in a large percentage of pet cats and a small percentage of those will develop clinical signs of infection to varying degrees.  It goes on to state that:

Until the pathogenicity of Helicobacters in cats is better understood, Helicobacter infection should be a consideration in any cat with unexplained chronic intermittent vomiting and lymphocytic gastritis or gastric erosion-ulceration…. PCR and other molecular analyses of gastric biopsies, gastric juice, or culture isolates can be used to diagnose and to identify the species of Helicobacter.

Complete article: http://www.vin.com/VINDBPub/SearchPB/Proceedings/PR05000/PR00117.htm


20 responses to “H. Pylori in cats?

  1. I really appreciate that you continue to provide such good information, along with the reminder that each case is different, but here’s something to consider.

  2. Interesting and very informative reading, thanks Molly as always – 😀

  3. How funny that you should post this today, Molly. I’ve come to the conclusion that Opossum has acid reflux in addition to the possible IBD, and one of the things that might cause both conditions is Helicobacter. I’ve also learned in the last week (the hard way) that one should NEVER give a pill or gelcap to a cat unless it’s either firmly and securely inside a pill pocket that doesn’t crumble, or washed down with a squirt of water seconds after the pill is administered. Opossum got medication-induced esophagitis, probably made worse by whatever else is wrong with him (parasites or food allergy). Fun stuff! He IS getting better, however.

    • Oh, dear, Jill!! Poor Opossum. I’m so pleased that he is getting better.

    • Jill…I was having a huge problem trying to get Phoebe & Zoey to keep pills down as they take Metronitozole regularly for IBD. Once I had my vet prescribe it in liquid, rather than pills, the problem was solved. It’s also SOOOOOO much easier to administer the liquid (in a syringe) than to attempt to get a cat to swallow a pill! My girls both refused to eat the pill pockets.

      I’m glad Opossum is feeling better!

  4. Thank you, as always, for the info Molly! I’m going to read the article. Phoebe & Zoey do vomit on occasion, but typically it’s from a hairball. They vomited more regularly when they were on the vet-prescribed prescription food, which is what initially prompted me to begin researching a few years ago. My vet (at the time) said they should eat that food, so I never questioned it OR looked at the ingredients, after all, he’s the expert. When the vomiting was happening several times a week I looked at the ingredients to try and find a cause, only to discover that this widely-used prescription brand was loaded with by-products, corn, wheat, etc. Once I switched to a natural brand that didn’t have any of that crap my girls were so much better!

  5. First of all – I just found your blog. Your Persians look soooo beautiful, they break my heart just to look at them! Your article is balanced and fair, but I feel I must emphasize the lack of evidence for h. pylori causing gastritis and vomiting in cats. It seems more likely Tritrichomonas foetus is the cause of much diarrhea and chronic gastroenteritis in cats. (link at http://www.cvm.ncsu.edu/docs/personnel/gookin_jody.html has really great article for cat owners, scroll down to it.) Many of the same antibiotics prescribed for helicobacter would also kill Tritrichomonas, and the cat will get better.
    I suspect much of the Persian cat IBD is an inflammation reaction to food ingredients +/- combined with bacterial infections. Persians, Himis, and Ragdolls don’t seem to be able to eat just any old cat food compared to other breeds (just my experience having lived with 100’s of them.)
    Doc Truli at VirtuaVet.com

    • Doc Truli, Thank you for posting and for your nice comments and input. I LOVE your blog and the fact that you are a veterinarian who is making use of science with the goal of educating and helping the patient’s caregivers as well. I would like to know more about research into chronic vomiting and gastritis and its causes in cats, especially as pertains to IBD as I’ve had two cats (one pedigree and one mixed breed) die of this affliction. Although the article I found was dated, it had presented a new possibility to me that I found interesting.

      Indeed I’m very familiar with TriTrichamonas Foetus and Dr. Gookin’s work on this. Dave Highgait is a prolific contributor of information on TF through my feline health forum. I also know that it seems to still be one of the last parasites that vets look for, if at all. I’m interested that it might be a source of vomiting in cats. I did not know that. I also was not aware that there were a number of antibiotics that can treat TriTrichamonas Foetus, and would love to hear more about that. The only drug I’m so far familiar with for treating TF is Ronidazole and feel that in some cases it’s preferable to allow TF to run it’s course rather than subject the cats to that drug. I know that research continues and so I’m probably already behind.

      Until recently (my last 2 – 3 litters) weaning diarrhea has been the absolute bane of my existence in my kittens at about 4 – 5 weeks of age. Testing for the source of kitten diarrhea has run the gambit here at Mythicbells and includes the usual parasite screen, the IFA and ELISA for Giardia and also the in home pouch test for TF which I did on my own. As is the case so many times with these situations, literally thousands of dollars are spent on testing for the source of the diarrhea, all turning up negative results. As you probably know this can be very frustrating. On the other hand personal experience has shown in my own litters that a 10 day course of Clavamox clears up the weaning diarrhea every single time. I have yet to run across much in the way of studies concerning bacteria in neonates, but this experience leads me to believe that it can figure heavily. I believe it can also be a serious issue in conception and successful pregnancies, though I have not experienced this in my cats.

      I hope you will drop in often to keep me on track! I will certainly be over at your BLOG frequently.

    • Hi,
      I just read your text about t-foetus. You said that there is other medications than Ronidazole that can kill tritrichomonas foetus?? I didn’t been so lucky with ronidazole.. 4 of my 6 cats are still positive to T-foetus after trying to cure them with 2 treatments of Ronidazole.. =(
      I just started my own little cattery.. but I will have to find other medication than ronidazole that will works to kill tritrichomonas if I want to keep my cat healthy and here in my house.
      Thank you for all the informations you can give to me and please email me as soon as you can.. I really need help

    • Hi,
      I just read your text about t-foetus. You said that there is other medications than Ronidazole that can kill tritrichomonas foetus?? I didn’t been so lucky with ronidazole.. 4 of my 6 cats are still positive to T-foetus after trying to cure them with 2 treatments of Ronidazole.. =(
      I just started my own little cattery.. but I will have to find other medication than ronidazole that will works to kill tritrichomonas if I want to keep my cat healthy and here in my house.
      Thank you for all the informations you can give to me and please email me as soon as you can.. I really need help

      (Sorry I post my question twice.. )

  6. I’m going to go out on a limb and say my personal opinion about kitten diarrhea is: science has not figured it out yet. My mom’s Himalayan and Persian cattery had the same problem 20 years ago, and she finally retired the cats, rather than battle the weaning diarrhea, and sometimes, kittens refusing to eat solid food at all. I was not a vet then, so I could not help her. But I keep my ears open for news in case a solution or explanation finally surfaces because of this personal disappointment!

    • Now I know why you have Himalayans! Interesting that your mother had the same issues. It’s extremely common and the subject is hashed and re-hashed on the CFA Feline health forum among breeders all over the world. Each have their own ‘magic’ solutions that probably only work intermittently or not at all. Many swear by IAM’s dry food (I suspect that the high contact of fiber in it helps diarrhea), others have one probiotic or another that they tout, or enzyme, or both. As you probably know the market for these products is now totally out of control and makes it impossible to make an informed choice. Many breeders use pumpkin in the food (again, more fiber). I’ve had very little luck with fiber or probiotics. I’ve even researched what the zoos do for baby exotic cats such as the tigers on Tiger Island. Apparently they are given probiotics before introduction to solid food. I even tried that with a couple of litters to no avail. One day I became interested when I noticed that at least one cat food manufacturer included Montmorillonite Clay in the ingredients. I’d never heard of ‘edible clay.’ Just to be clear, I think it’s more than likely another fad, but it may have some merit for diarrhea in that it’s not unlike kaolin in Kaopectate. I’ve been adding it to the kittens’ food at weaning time, then tapering it off and have had little to no weaning diarrhea. It’s a huge blessing and probably short lived now that I’ve jinxed it by mentioning it. 😀

  7. Ah, yes, the “mentioning” jinx – I know it well!!

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