Bartonella are relatively common bacteria that are usually transmitted by fleas and ticks. Bartonella is the bacteria that causes cat scratch fever in humans and because there are several species of Bartonella it is also linked to a number of illnesses in your cat or dog. Indeed, infections caused by Bartonella can have many mild symptoms in dogs and cats but they often go unnoticed by humans as these illnesses are generally not very severe.
Fever, eye disease, and inflammation of the heart lining, muscle, and valves are among the most common symptoms associated with Bartonella infection. More commonly, humans become aware of Bartonella infections because they themselves fall victim to cat scratch fever. Also known as cat scratch disease, this infection is usually transmitted when your cat scratches you. Some symptoms of cat scratch fever include a low grade fever, swelling of the lymph glands, and other flu-like reactions. In most cases, cat scratch fever will last only a few days but the symptoms can extend for many months.
While systemic symptoms are not common, they are not impossible and sometimes these symptoms can become serious. Because fleas are the most likely vectors of Bartonella it is important to ensure your dogs and cats receive some kind of flea prevention treatment. In fact, Bartonella cannot be spread without a flea or a tick as a vector so you can easily control the spread of these bacteria with a proven flea and tick treatment like Advantage or FrontLine.
If you suspect that your pet has been infected with Bartonella you should visit your vet and have your pet tested. Various antibiotics can be given to dogs and cats to kill these bacteria so that you can protect your family from possible infection. Nevertheless, remember that Bartonella is not a particularly dangerous bacteria, just that you will become ill if infected.