Bartonella Treatment for Cats with Doxycycline

A condition that affects many domestic cats is a bacterial infection known as bartonella. This illness manifests itself in chronic inflammation throughout various areas of the pet's bodies, especially the eyes. This condition is commonly referred to as cat scratch fever. As many as one in five cats in North America may be affected with this condition, although certain studies have revealed a higher incidence of infection. 

The bartonella bacteria is transmitted from cat to cat via fleas and ticks that have attached themselves to the skin of the pet and may also spread to humans by the parasites carried by the host cat. Your cat could go for many years without showing any signs of having acquired bacterial bartonella. Even if your pet does show signs of being infected with this disease, then along with the treatment for bartonella you may want to treat your cat for parasites as well. Your veterinarian will be able to suggest effective inexpensive treatments for parasites.

Treatment of Bartonella

The most common and least expensive treatment of bartonella in cats is the oral antibiotic Doxycycline. If this medication is not available in your area, then there are other medications available that are just as effective.

Side Effects of Doxycycline

Although the use of Doxycycline is not needed for every incidence of bartonella, there are some side effects that result in its use:

  • Inflammation of the esophagus
  • Development of ulcers in the esophagus
  • Scarring of the eyes
  • Changes in the eyes’ structure

In order to prevent the development of ulcers in and/or the inflammation of the esophagus, Doxycycline must be diluted with some kind of fluid, such as the water that your cat is drinking. Inflammation or ulcers in the esophagus could pose a far more daunting problem to contend with than a simple bacterial infection.

Your veterinarian will probably include the administer corticosteroids in the form of eye drops to help prevent the scarring of the eye or changes in the eye structure. The use of eye drops is twofold. Dry eyes are a common occurrence with a bacterial infection of the eye. Eye drops are commonly used in treating bartonella.

Treatment Takes Time

The treatment for bacterial bartonella could take as long as six months to fully eradicate the problem; however, in most cases positive results are revealed in a far more timely fashion. It must be noted that in many cases medical treatment of bartonella is not needed, as a healthy immune system within your pet is most adequate in treating this condition. The best way of creating a healthy immune system is with high quality food and regular care. Also noteworthy is the widespread understanding that an infection of bacterial bartonella is not a serious ailment to your pet. The treatment for bacterial bartonella is usually highly effective, although if your cat is an outdoor pet the chances of a relapse or re-infection is increased.

Suggested Dosage for the Treatment of Bartonella

Doxycycline is available in its retail name form of Roxaxan. Studies have found that the most effective dosage for treating bacterial bartonella is 10 milligrams per kilogram. This means the normal dosage for your cat would fall into the 20 milligrams area and the oral dosage should be administered once per day.