In some parts of North America, cats
can become infected with the organism, Yersinia
pestis, through contact
with wild mammals or their fleas. They may pass the infection on to man, veterinary
surgeons being particularly at risk.
The prevalence of infection in European
wildlife is not known but is probably low, and the risk of feline (and human)
infection in Europe is therefore probably small.
The most common form of the disease in
cats is bubonic plague, clinical signs of which include pyrexia, dehydration
Septicaemic plague is often fatal within
several days with few signs other than collapse and shock. Pneumonic plague is
rare in cats.
Treatment is by drainage and lavage of
buboes and intramuscular aminoglycoside injections (streptomycin at 5 mg/kg twice
daily or gentamicin at 2 mg/ kg twice daily) for 3 weeks.
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