Campylobacteriosis in cats is one of the most misunderstood disorders in cats worldwide, as well as one of the most confusing.
Cats can very easily pass this disorder to humans, but it is a misconception that you can get it by simply touching your cat.
In fact, there could be nothing further from the truth.
It is also a large misconception that it is quite rare in the cat population as compared to other animals, as it is estimated that over 45 percent of all stray cats carry this infection.
So what exactly is this disorder, how can you treat and prevent it in your cat, and how can you protect yourself?
Campylobacteriosis in cats is a disorder that is caused by a bacterium that is known as Campylobacter jejuni.
It is perhaps the most common cause of enteritis, also known as intestinal inflammation in humans as well as several animal species, including your cat.
In fact, in just the last few years it has emerged from obscurity in veterinarian medicine and has roared to light as perhaps the leading cause of intestinal inflammation in humans.
If your cat has any type of diarrhea, there is a very good chance they have Campylobacteriosis in cats.
If they do, and you develop the same symptoms, there is also a strong likelihood that you may have contracted it from your cat.
However, this is where this disorder becomes very difficult to actually identify or diagnose.
It is very common for adult cats to carry the organism, but show absolutely no signs at all that they have it.
If your cat does develop the clinical signs, they may be part of the most affected groups.
Campylobacteriosis in cats seems to target and attack certain groups.
The most affected group starts with young cats and kittens less than six months old as their immune system is not yet fully developed.
However, if your cat is under any stress at all, they are also wide open for attack if they have been exposed to this bacterium.
This stress would include any type of disease that is currently affecting them, any type of hospitalization or surgery, as well as pregnancy.
The severity of how this disease or disorder actually affects your cat will all depend on the number of the organisms that your cat has come into contact with, and as a result, actually ingested.
If your cat’s immune system is at full operating strength, they can usually stave off most of the attacking organisms, but if it is compromised at all, they may also be at risk.
However, if your cat has any other intestinal parasites, it will trigger this disease to its full flurry of attacks.
Stray cats are also at a much higher degree of risk, as well as cats that are exposed to kennels, any type of crowding conditions, as well as unsanitary conditions.
These are all environments that allow for exposure to this very dangerous disease.
Campylobacteriosis in cats is much more likely to occur if your cat is exposed to any type of environment where they are in contact with infected cats as well as dogs.
By far and away the greatest risk of exposure is coming into contact with contaminated feces.
It can also be spread by contaminated water sources or food, especially in crowded environments and again, unsanitary conditions.
It has been estimated in several medical studies that less than five percent of cats that are healthy and kept away from cats that may have been exposed, ever get this dangerous disease.
These numbers jump dramatically to about 25 percent if your cat has any type of diarrhea and to over 45 percent if they are exposed to infected cats.
Kittens are also much more at risk for two reasons; their immune system is still developing, and they will explore anything in any environment, placing them more at risk.
Campylobacteriosis in cats has several symptoms, which has also been misconstrued over the years.
Diarrhea is obviously the most common symptom, but it is just one of the many that may accompany this disease.
The diarrhea can range from mild loose fecal discharge, to a watery discharge that actually contains both blood and mucus.
If it becomes acute, it may also cause a fever in your cat.
These initial symptoms may last for a few weeks, subside, and then reoccur.
In some of the more extreme cases, they can last for several months.
However, in either case, there may be other symptoms that will help you identify it as Campylobacteriosis.
Vomiting may also occur as well as tenesmus.
Tenesmus may not be a term that all cat owners are familiar with, but you will know it immediately when you see it.
It is a situation where your cat urgently tries to urinate or defecate, but is completely unsuccessful.
Lymphadenitis is another symptom that may occur in your cat as the result of Campylobacteriosis.
This is a condition where your cat will develop a very abnormal enlargement of the lymph nodes as the result of this disease.
But there is still one more symptom that you will see in your cat; a complete loss of appetite caused by this bacterium.
Campylobacteriosis in cats can, in most all cases, be very successfully treated by antibiotics.
It is widely held in the veterinarian community that this is one bacterium that has not yet become resistant to antibiotics, and as such, they are quite effective.
However, even with this treatment, minimizing your infected cat’s exposure to other cats is highly recommended until they fully recover.
Treatments such as very bland and high fiber diets will also be used in an attempt to control the most dangerous situation, which is the diarrhea.
Once treated, it is also very important to do whatever you can to reduce your cats exposure to any types of stress.
This can make this situation much worse and is considered to be a predisposing contributing factor.
Campylobacteriosis in cats can be a very difficult disease to originally identify unless you understand the symptoms.
If your cat is actually carrying the infection and shows no symptoms, it is generally an indicator that their immune system is controlling it.
However, if they do demonstrate symptoms and are indeed diagnosed with this disease, you will need to take the usual sanitary precautions.
It is a huge misconception that you can catch this disease by simply touchy your cat.
The only way you would be at risk is not following the proper sanitary practices of properly handling their feces and their litter box in general.
It is just plain common sense to always use rubber gloves when cleaning their box, and if you do this regularly, you have very little chance of becoming infected.