Feline tularemia

J. Paul Woods, Roger J. Panciera, Rebecca J. Morton, Terry W Lehenbauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Feline tularemia is a zoonotic disease caused by the gram-negative pleomorphic coccobacillus francisella tularensis. F. tularensis can infect a variety of mammals, birds, and arthropod vectors. Cats can become infected by direct contact with infected animals, ingestion of infected tissue or contaminated water, arthropod bites, or inhalation of aerosolized particles. Clinical manifestations of feline tularemia can range from mild to fatal clinical disease. Definitive diagnosis is based on demonstrating rising titers of agglutinating antibodies to F. tularensis, detecting the presence of F. tularensis organisms in tissue by fluorescent antibody tests, or selectively culturing the organisms. Isolation is not usually attempted, however, because of the significant risk of infection in laboratory personnel. Treatment consists of antibiotic therapy with gentamicin, enrofloxacin, tetracycline, or chloramphenicol; however, F. tularensis is resistant to β-lactam antibiotics. The best preventive measure is not allowing cats to be exposed to the organism in enzootic areas. Because tutaremia is overlooked as a public health risk, veterinarians must begin to consider the disease in their diagnostic routine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-457
Number of pages16
JournalCompendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • veterinary(all)


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