Chlamydophila felis

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Also know ans: Chlamydiosis - Chlamydia psittaci (felis)

Introduction

Chlamydophila felis causes a persistent respiratory infection. It usually occurs along with Feline Herpesvirus and Feline Calicivirus to form the disease complex 'cat flu'. Signs include mild conjunctivitis, serous purulent rhinitis and conjunctivitis and in severe cases mild bronchointerstitial pneumonia.

Up to 10% of cats are affected, or have been affected with this bacterial infection. Transmission will occur via direct contact with conjunctival or nasal secretions. The infection may persist with prolonged shedding and clinical relapses. The stress of parturition and lactation may cause shedding of organisms leading to transmission to offspring.


Clinical Signs

The incubation period is 5 days, after which one will see conjunctival congestion, clear ocular discharge, blepharospasm, sneezing and nasal discharge. If this infection is part of the 'cat flu' complex, one will also see rhinitis and ulcers of the eyes and oral cavity. The infection resolves within a few weeks, or causes persistent infection.


Diagnosis

Clinical signs, especially if 'cat flu' symptoms, are indicative of the disease. Smears from the conjunctiva should be taken and stained for microscopy. Intracytoplasmic inclusions should be seen. Occular and nasal secretions should also be taken so that antigen detection by ELISA, PCR, Kosters and fluorescent antibody test can be performed.


Treatment and Control

Modified live vaccines reduce clinical signs but do not prevent infection or shedding.

Treatment is supportive, including cleaning sore eyes, blending food into liquid form and cleaning the cats nose regularly. To encourage the cat to eat, extra smelly food should be given as the cat will be nasally congested so cannot smell very well. Things like fish or meat stock should also be put into water to encourage the cat to drink.


References

Bridger, J and Russell, P (2007) Virology Study Guide, Royal Veterinary College

Ettinger, S.J. and Feldman, E. C. (2000) Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine Diseases of the Dog and Cat Volume 2 (Fifth Edition), W.B. Saunders Company

Merck & Co (2008) The Merck Veterinary Manual (Eighth Edition), Merial



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