Mycobacterium bovis in pet cats

Conor O'Halloran, Danièlle Gunn-Moore, Nicki Reed, Julie Vickers, Eili Dettmering, Olympia Ioannidi, Kevin Murtagh

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter


THREE clinical cases of feline tuberculosis due to Mycobacterium bovis were recently confirmed in two households in England. What makes these cases unusual is that they occurred in young pedigree cats (under two years old) with no history of outdoor access since they were adopted as kittens. Furthermore,
both households are located well within areas of the country deemed to be low risk for M bovis in cattle and other species, including cats. These cases are not typical cases that present with cutaneous lesions at fight and bite sites, which we think become challenged with M bovis when hunting infected prey. Notably, all
three cats were fed a commercial raw food diet, although the significance of
this in the epidemiology of these cases is not yet clear.
Given the clinical particulars of these cases, notably abdominal lymphadenopathy, this differential diagnosis should be considered in cases of likely gastrointestinal lymphoma, or feline infectious peritonitis.
We urge clinicians to be aware of the possibility of tuberculosis in young
(pedigree) cats, even with a lack of history of outdoor access, that may have been fed a raw food diet. If colleagues have a suspicion of any cases, or have diagnosed any similar cases, we would be very interested to hear from them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510
JournalVeterinary Record
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2018


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