House cats are a growing source of human plague. Cats pick up the disease from infected fleas or rodents, perhaps a deer mouse, rock squirrel, or prairie dog, and pass it on when they bite, scratch, or lick humans. Even the breath of an infected cat with oral lesions can transmit plague bacteria. Before 1977, domestic cats were not known to transmit plague.
Plague is unlikely to spread further east because the rodents carrying the bacteria do not live outside semiarid regions.
A case of human plague is considered to be confirmed when a bacterial culture is identified as Yersinia pestis by biochemical testing and bacteriophage typing or when there is a fourfold rise in antibody titres to the F – 1 antigen of Y pestis.

Cat scratch disease (Bartonella henselae Infection)

Cat scratch disease (CSD) is a bacterial disease caused by Bartonella henselae. Most people with CSD have been bitten or scratched by a cat and developed a mild infection at the point of injury. Lymph nodes, especially those around the head, neck, and upper limbs, become swollen. Additionally, a person with CSD may experience fever, headache, fatigue, and a poor appetite. Rare complications of B. henselae infection are bacillary angiomatosis and Parinaud’s oculolandular syndrome.
Sometimes cats can spread B. henselae to people. Most people get CSD from cat bites and scratches. Kittens are more likely to be infected and to pass the bacterium to people. About 40% of cats carry B. henselae at some time in their lives. Cats that carry B. henselae do not show any signs of illness; therefore, you cannot tell which cats can spread the disease to you. People with immunocompromised conditions, such as those undergoing immunosuppressive treatments for cancer, organ transplant patients, and people with HIV/AIDS, are more likely than others to have complications of CSD. Although B. henselae has been found in fleas, so far there is no evidence that a bite from an infected flea can give you CSD.
One species of the bacteria, Bartonella quintana, has long been known to cause trench fever in humans, but it has only been in the last decade or so that B. henselae was identified as the cause of cat scratch disease. More recently, two other species, B. washoensis and B. vinsonii subspecies berkhoffii have been found to cause disease in humans. All four were among the Bartonella bacteria found in the ticks.
Cat scratch disease is a relatively mild disease in humans, generally consisting of a low-grade fever and swollen lymph nodes, but in patients with compromised immune systems it can lead to a potentially fatal disease known as bacillary angiomatosis.

How can I reduce my risk of getting cat scratch disease?

  1. Avoid “rough play” with cats, especially kittens. This includes any activity that may lead to cat scratches and bites.
  2. Wash cat bites and scratches immediately and thoroughly with running water and soap.
  3. Do not allow cats to lick open wounds that you may have.
  4. Control fleas.
  5. If you develop an infection (with pus and pronounced swelling) where you were scratched or bitten by a cat or develop symptoms, including fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue, contact your physician.


Right now the most reliable treatment seems to be Azithromycin which clears 83% of infected cats. The course of treatment is approximately 3 weeks. Other antibiotics have been less promising.

Heartworm Disease in Cats

When it comes to heartworm disease, dogs and cats have a lot in common. But new research shows that in cats there is the potential for more severe reactions and even sudden death. Indoor cats are also at risk for heartworm disease.
Cases of heartworm disease in cats have been reported across the United States and many other countries. Heartworm disease is most common in areas where dogs are also at risk.

What are the signs?

The most common signs of heartworm disease in cats – coughing , vomiting, breathing difficulties, weight loss, and lethargy – are often mistaken for other conditions such as asthma, pneumonia and digestive problems. In fact, most common clinical signs of heartworm disease in cats resembles bronchial asthma.


Once a cat is diagnosed with heartworm disease, managing the disease can be difficult. Treatment, as well as non-treatment, is very risky, because there’s currently no approved product for treating adult heartworms, and the onset of clinical signs is impossible to predict in cats that are left untreated. Even if the disease is treated, your cat may experience severe complications or even death when the worms die. Prevention is the best medicine. Ask your veterinarian about heartworm disease prevention for your cat. It will help give your feline friend the best chance for a long and healthy life.

What is heartworm disease in cats?

Heartworm disease in cats is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by Dirofilaria immitis. This is the same parasite that causes heartworm disease in dogs but new research shows a potential for more severe reactions and even sudden death in cats.

How do cats get heartworm disease?

Cats get heartworm disease the same way dogs get it. Mosquitoes transmit the disease by biting an infected animal, then passing the infection on to other animals they bite.

What are the signs?

  • Common signs of infection are:
  • Coughing
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Vomiting
  • Sluggishness
  • Weight loss

Other more acute signs are:

  • Collapse
  • Convulsions
  • Sudden death

These signs may also be seen with other feline diseases. Ask your veterinarian about your cat’s risk for heartworm disease.

How can heartworm disease be treated?

Currently there is no approved product for treatment of heartworm disease in cats.

Feline Panleukopenia

What does it do?

Feline panleukopenia (FP), also known as feline distemper, is a highly contagious viral disease that occurs wherever there are cats. Cats at any age may be stricken. Young kittens, sick cats, and cats that have not been adequately immunized are most susceptible; older cats are more likely to have acquired an immunity and, therefore, are infected less frequently.
The feline panleukopenia virus is passed from cat to cat by direct contact. The source of infection is most commonly fecal waste from infected cats, but the virus may be present in other body secretions.
A healthy cat can also become infected without coming in direct contact with an infected cat. Bedding, cages, food dishes, and the hands or clothing of handlers that contact infected secretions may harbor and transmit the virus.
The feline panleukopenia virus is very stable. It is resistant to many chemicals and may remain infectious at room temperature for as long as one year. Short of raising a cat in total isolation, it is nearly impossible to prevent exposure.
Feline panleukopenia is a complex disease. It can vary in severity from very mild to extreme. The many signs are not always typical and many owners may even believe that their cat has been poisoned or has swallowed a foreign object. Because of this fact, treatment may be delayed or neglected.
After exposure to the virus, many of the cat’s cells are destroyed. This cell loss makes the cat more susceptible to other complications and bacterial infections.

Prevention and Protection

Feline panleukopenia is controlled in several ways. Cats that survive a natural infection usually develop sufficient, active immunity to protect them for the rest of their lives. Mild cases may go unnoticed and also produce immunity.
It is also possible for kittens to receive immunity from their mother through the transfer of antibody. This passive immunity from the mother is temporary and its effectiveness varies in proportion to the level of antibody in the mother’s body.
Vaccines offer the safest protection. They stimulate the cat’s body to produce protective antibodies against the virus to prevent infection by natural, disease causing viruses. The vaccines are very effective but are preventive, not curative. They must be administered before the cat is exposed and infected to be effective.
Specific vaccination schedules vary dependent on many factors, such as the disease incidence in the area, and age and health of the cat.
The pet owner should consult a veterinarian for advice on the correct schedule for each cat

Cat Flea:

The Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is one of the most abundant and widespread fleas in the world. The cat flea’s primary host is the domestic cat, but this is also the primary flea infesting dogs in most of the world. The cat flea can also maintain its life cycle on other carnivores and on the Virginia opossum. Rabbits, rodents, ruminants and humans can be infested or bitten, but a population of cat fleas cannot be sustained by these aberrant hosts. Cat fleas can transmit other parasites and infections to dogs and cats and also to humans. The most prominent of these are Bartonella, the tapeworm Dipylidium caninum, and murine typhus.
Sources: Science Daily, CDC, Marvistavet, Avma.

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