Cat scratch disease is caused by Bartonella henselae and the domestic cat represents its main reservoir. In immunocompromised patients, infection with B. henselae is characterized by more severe clinical forms than in non-immunocompromised individuals. The objective of the present study was to investigate the characteristics of B. henselae (Houston-I strain) infection in four splenectomized and three non-splenectomized cats, five of which were chronically infected with 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum'. No major clinical signs were observed in either group of cats. Cats in both splenectomized and non-splenectomized groups became bacteremic within a week post-inoculation. Although bacteremia was on average 10 days longer in the splenectomized cats, that difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.72). In both groups, the level of bacteremia peaked within the same time frame; however, the level of bacteremia was about 10-fold higher in the splenectomized cats (P = 0.007). Such a difference could be associated with a reduced immune response to the infection, especially a reduced ability to phagocytize Bartonella organisms in the splenectomized cats. Concurrent infection with 'Candidatus M. haemominutum' did not appear to alter the course of infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology