Worldwide medical and scientific journal for animal health professionals

Issue number 26.2 Other Scientific

Feline vector-borne diseases

Published 12/03/2021

Written by Mary Thompson and Peter Irwin

Also available in Français , Deutsch , Italiano and Español

By comparison with diseases transmitted to dogs by hematophagous (blood-feeding) arthropods, veterinarians appear to be relatively unaware about the global importance of feline vector-borne diseases (FVBD). However, with greater understanding of FVBD, it should come as no surprise that many of the factors responsible for emerging infectious diseases in canines and humans are also relevant to our feline patients. 

Intracellular trophozoites of Babesia felis

Key points

Arthropod-transmitted pathogens are a significant cause of emerging infectious disease in cats, with pet travel, periurban development, outdoor lifestyle, and climate change all being contributory factors.


Recent improvements in diagnostic testing have helped to improve knowledge of feline vector-borne diseases (FVBD).


Chronic, concurrent, and immunomodulatory diseases may cause recrudescence of FVBD.


An awareness of vector-borne disease is necessary when considering blood transfusion in cats.


Some FVBD have zoonotic implications, and veterinarians must remain vigilant.


Regular application of ectoparasiticides is the key to controlling FVBD.


 

Introduction

By comparison with diseases transmitted to dogs by hematophagous (blood-feeding) arthropods, veterinarians appear to be relatively unaware about the global importance of feline vector-borne diseases (FVBD) 1. However, with greater understanding of FVBD, it should come as no surprise that many of the factors responsible for emerging infectious diseases in canines and humans are also relevant to our feline patients. Whenever a blood transfusion for a client’s cat is required, or a feline patient presents with unexplained fever, anemia or thrombocytopenia, the clinician should always consider the possibility of a blood-borne, arthropod-transmitted infection. This brief review aims to provide veterinary practitioners with an insight to the key issues pertaining to the distribution, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of FVBD.

 

 

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