Systemic Mycobacterium kansasii infection in two related cats

Petra Cerna, Jordan Mitchell, Joanna Lodzinska, Paola Cazzini, Katarina Varjonen, Danielle Gunn-Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mycobacterial infections are a major concern in veterinary medicine because of the difficulty achieving an aetiological diagnosis, the challenges and concerns of treatment, and the potential zoonotic risk. Mycobacterium kansasii, a slow-growing non-tuberculous mycobacteria, causes disease in both humans and animals. While infections have been well described in humans, where it may be misdiagnosed as tuberculosis, there are fewer reports in animals. Only four cases have been reported in the domestic cat. This case report describes systemic M. kansasii infection in two sibling indoor-only cats that presented two and half years apart with cutaneous disease that was found to be associated with osteolytic and pulmonary pathology. Infection with M. kansasii was confirmed in both cats by polymerase chain reaction on fine-needle aspirate of a lumbosacral soft tissue mass in one cat and on a tissue punch biopsy of a skin lesion in the other; interferon-gamma release assay inferred M. avium-complex and M. tuberculosis-complex infection in the two cats, respectively. Both patients made a full recovery following antimicrobial therapy with rifampicin, azithromycin and pradofloxacin (plus N-acetyl cysteine in cat 2). This report highlights successful treatment of systemic M. kansasii mycobacteriosis in the cat and the challenge of accurately diagnosing this infection.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2020


  • feline cutaneous mycobacteriosis
  • non-tuberculous mycobacteria
  • Mycobacterium kansasii
  • diagnostics
  • treatment


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