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TB and Cats in the News

Posted April 2014

There have been a number of articles in the press recently about TB in cats, and some of our clients have expressed concern over the risk to their cats and themselves. We would like to reassure you that the risk of contracting this disease from your cat is very small indeed. Here is a little background information to explain the situation. We are more than happy to discuss this in more detail with you at your next visit.

TB is caused by a bacteria called ‘mycobacteria’. There are a number of different types of this bacteria, and each tends to cause disease in different animals. Most TB in humans is caused by ‘Mycobacterium tuberculosis’, or M.tuberculosis for short. Most TB in cows is caused by M. Bovis – this is also the type found in badgers. Another type of mycobacterium is M.microti, which causes TB in rodents (e.g. voles, mice). It is likely that other mammalian wildlife can be infected by various types of TB.

In the old days, cats used to get TB from drinking infected cow’s milk. However, this is now very uncommon due to milk pasteurisation and TB control in cattle. Nowadays, TB in cats is either caused by M.microti, or M.bovis, and it usually presents as a non-healing skin wound or skin lump. In the South-East of England, M.microti is the most common type of TB in cats, and it is thought that cats catch this by getting bitten by rodents while hunting. But don’t panic - most cats that hunt will not catch TB! Although in theory all mycobacteria can infect humans, spread of M.microti from a cat to a human is thought not to occur. The two cases of TB spread from cat to human that have been reported in the papers recently were cases of M.bovis, which is more common in the West Country.

Diagnosing TB in cats is not always straight forward, but we will attempt to diagnose which mycobacteria is the cause, because this tells us how much of a risk the cat is to humans. If a cat was diagnosed with M.bovis, had advanced disease, open wounds, or was in contact with a human with compromised health, the risk to humans may be deemed too great and the cat may need to be euthanised. We should stress that this is NOT a common situation and not one, thankfully, that we have had to experience here at Elands.

Owners wishing to know more are directed to the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency website and the International Cat Care website:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/ahvla-en/files/AG-TBYP-01.pdf
http://www.icatcare.org/news/tuberculosis-and-cats-%E2%80%93-what-you-need-know

Alice Courtney MA VetMB CertAVP MRCVS - Elands Veterinary Clinic

PetPlan Veterinary Awards 2014

Posted March 2014

We are pleased and proud to announce that we have been once again nominated for the Petplan Veterinary Awards. We have nominations for Best Practice 2014, and Georgina Wilkinson has been nominated for Vet of the Year 2014. Finalists will be announced on March 14th, so all here at Elands are crossing our fingers!

The Petplan Veterinary Awards are a public award scheme – this means that the general public nominates the candidates for the awards—so we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out a nomination form on our behalf, and we shall keep you posted on the results.

Download a copy of the Nominations!