Cat Scratch Fever

Did you know that cat scratch disease (CSd) is a zoonotic disease? Yes, it is a bacterial infection caused by Bartonella henselae that can be spread from an infected cat to other cats and from cats to humans. 

In general, cats that are infected with CSD don’t show any symptoms of illness but in some cases, the heart is affected eventually leading to life-threatening complications. It is actually a very common infection in cats. In fact, about 40% of cats become infected at some point in their lives. Kittens are more susceptible to the infection compared to older cats. The causative agent is transmitted to cats through flea bites or when flea droppings contaminate an opening on their skin (such as a wound). Cats can also acquire the infection when fighting with other infected cats. Cats transmit the disease to humans when they bite, scratch, or lick any broken skin surface. The site of infection become red, swollen, and filled with pus. The infected person also suffers from headache, fatigue, fever, and appetite loss. With time, the infections spreads to adjacent lymph nodes, causing swelling and pain. Sometimes, the bacteria invades the brain, heart, and other vital organs of people causing more serious complications. Young kids, old people, and those with compromised immune system function have higher chances of suffering from these complications. 

Talk to your Matthews, NC veterinarian about the best way to protect your pet cats and your family from CSD. 


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