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Cats + Zoonosis & Human Health

  • Antibodies are specialised proteins (immunoglobulins) that circulate in the blood stream. They are produced by a white blood cell called a plasma cell.

  • All cats have a large number of bacteria, such as Pasteurella multocida, in their mouths which can be transmitted to the bite wound. An infected bite wound can become red, swollen and painful with a risk of spread of infection elsewhere in the body.

  • Cat scratch disease, or cat scratch fever, is a disease of humans, not of cats. A cat scratch is often associated with the disease, however this is not believed to be the means by which infection occurs. Recent evidence suggests that the major route of infection is by flea bite. The disease is caused by a bacterium-like organism called Bartonella henselae. Bartonella henselae is sensitive to a number of antibiotics.

  • The harvest mite (Trombicula autumnalis) is a mite the larval stage of which causes considerable discomfort to cats and dogs during the late summer and autumn. The mite is not common in Australia and only rural cats are usually affected. The fluid injected by the mite is very irritant causing the cat to scratch, bite and lick which may result in extensive self-inflicted injury. Your vet will give you appropriate treatment.

  • Tapeworms and roundworms are two of the most common intestinal parasites of cats. Tapeworms are long flat worms composed of many individual segments whereas round worms are much shorter and have rounded bodies.

  • This is a disease caused by a protozoan (single celled) parasite found in dogs and certain rodents in many part of the world. Thankfully the disease is exotic to Australia (foreign) and our isolation and quarantine have afforded us protection from this disease. A type of tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus is widespread in Australia and this may act as a vector for the disease if it gains entry to our shores.

  • Oral papillomas are benign tumours of the epithelial lining of the mouth and throat caused by papillomaviruses. The viruses are specific for that species of animal and fairly site specific but can be transmitted to skin or eyes if the protective outer epithelium is damaged.

  • Some ovarian cancers are benign and others malignant. In some cases, removal of the affected ovary will be curative. Spread to other internal organs (metastasis) is possible with some types, particularly the larger tumours.

  • Rabies is one of the most devastating viral diseases affecting mammals, including cats and humans. It is almost always fatal.

  • Ringworm is a fungal infection of the superficial layers of the skin, hairs and nails. The fungi responsible for ringworm belong to a specialised group known as dermatophytes, and these can cause disease in both humans and animals.

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