What is pasteurellosis transmitted by cats and dogs?

Our four-legged friends don’t just bring hugs and love! They sometimes transmit diseases, such as pasteurellosis. What are its symptoms? How to diagnose and treat it?

Dr. Charlotte Tourmente

Written on Updated

Cat bites, even while playing, are frequently incriminated in pasteurellosis.
Cat bites, even while playing, are frequently incriminated in pasteurellosis. —

It was the famous Louis Pasteur, the originator of the rabies vaccine, who gave his name to pasteurellosis. Behind this name hides an infectious disease that affects animals as well as humans.

It is caused by bacteria Pasteurella multocida, responsible for chicken cholera. More specifically, it is transmitted mainly by cat bites and scratches but also by dog ​​bites.

Rats or pigs, like other wild animals, can also transmit the bacteria. Licking the wound is also a mode of contamination.

What are the symptoms of pasteurellosis?

The symptoms are variable, depending on the location of the wound (at the level of the skin, the eye, the ENT sphere, the mucous membranes, etc.) and the extension (local or generalized).

The bacteria produces a toxin, responsible for necrosis, the death of tissue, around the wound. The inflammation is rapid, red and painful, initially localized and then spreading if left untreated. Pus can slow healing, the nodes increase in size to fight against infection. This leads to a sometimes high fever and more rarely, sepsis, that is to say a blood infection.

Pasteurellosis also has more surprising localizations. Arthritis or damage to the bones and joints is possible in the event of a deep bite.

In the context of an infection of the ENT sphere, the symptoms then take the form of sinusitis, otitis or infection of the tonsils. Targeted locations in the eyes, lungs or brain are also possible.

As for serious forms or complications of pasteurellosis, such as meningitis or endocarditis, they are to be feared in immunocompromised people, suffering from cancer, blood disease, or cirrhosis, for example.

The diagnosis is made by taking a sample of the lesion in a biology laboratory. He will put it in culture for 24 to 48 hours and will determine the antibiotic(s) to which the germ is sensitive.

It is often a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, for 10 days. In case of allergy to axmocillin, it is possible to opt for doxicycline for seven days, combined with metronidazole.

Other precautions to take: check the status against tetanus, even rabies in some cases. Treatment of the animal is also required.


– Aesculapius: pasteurellosis
The general practitioner: pasteurellosis

Animals under surveillance to anticipate the next pandemic —
The Mag of Health – France 5

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