10909 Indian Head HighwayFort Washington, MD 20744(301) 292-1150(301) 292-1056
What is it?
Is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Bartonella henselae.
 
Who is susceptible to it?
Cats, dogs and humans.
 
How does it spread?
Spread by fleas!  When cats have fleas and scratch themselves, they get infected flea dirt on their claws.  When they scratch a human or another cat they spread the disease.
 
Time line from exposure to signs?
Signs begin 7 to10 days post exposure.
 
What are the symptoms?
It was only recently discovered that cats were more than simply carriers and that they could become infected themselves.  Symptoms include fever, deep eye inflammation, lymph node enlargement, muscle pain, reproductive failure, and bacterial infection of the heart (endocarditis).  It is believed that some cats that present with severe gingivitis and mouth irritation may be infected with this bacteria. 
 
Is there a test for it?
Yes.  There are many different types of tests, they all involves obtaining a blood sample to send out the laboratory.  The veterinarian will decide which is the most appropriate test to perform.
 
How is it treated?
Usually treated as an outpatient.  Cats are placed on oral antibiotics and ocular medications. 
 
How is it prevented?
Use a flea preventive product like Frontline or Advantage Multi on regular bases. 
 
Is there a vaccine?
No.
 
Risk for humans?
Humans can get the disease, and should consult their physician if they suspect they have been infectedThe scratch site develops a small bump about 2 to 3 weeks following contact with the infected cat.  The lymph node closest to the scratch will swell and become painful, fever develops.  If the infection goes deeper into the body severe life threatening disease can occur.
 
 
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