Diagnosis of Feline Respiratory Mycoplasma Infection

Bioguard Corporation

In cats, ’mucosal’ mycoplasma infections typically cause ocular and respiratory disease, and less frequently neurological or joint disease. These Mycoplasma species are distinct to the haemotropic mycoplasmas that target red blood cells, causing hemolytic anemia in cats. Mycoplasma felis is typically associated with Upper Respiratory Tract Disease (URTD) in cats.


M. felis is mainly transmitted from an infected cat to an in-contact one by aerosol, but also by grooming. Stresses, including overcrowding environments, concurrent respiratory viral infections, and poor hygienic situations, may promote transmission of the infection between cats.


Clinical symptoms

Mycoplasma felis is typically associated with URTD but sometimes it may be associated with lower respiratory tract infections.

Common clinical signs include clear or colored discharge from the eyes or nose, coughing, sneezing, conjunctivitis, chemosis, lethargy, and anorexia. Lower respiratory tract infections can result in pneumonia with fever, cough, tachypnoea, and lethargy.



Culture of mycoplasmas can be used to demonstrate infection, but it takes time for culture and rapid transport of samples to the laboratory is required. Demonstration of organisms via real-time PCR is increasingly being used to circumvent the difficulties with culture,



Antimicrobial therapy is commonly used to treat mycoplasma respiratory infections. Doxycycline is a good first line agent because it is well tolerated by cats and relatively narrow in spectrum. The recommended dose is 5 mg/kg, PO, q12h or 10 mg/kg, PO, q24 (Lappin et al., 2017). Oxytetracycline or chlortetracycline ophthalmic ointment can be used q6h in addition as topical treatment.



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