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Companion Animal Practice
Mycobacterial disease in the cat
  1. Danielle Gunn-Moore

    Danielle Gunn-Moore graduated with distinction from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, in 1991. After a year in small animal practice she joined the Feline Centre at the University of Bristol. She is currently conducting a PhD study into 'The molecular epidemiology of feline coronavirus infection'. In October 1997 she was appointed lecturer in veterinary pathology at Bristol.

  2. Susan Shaw

    Susan Shaw graduated from the University of Sydney, Australia, in 1974. Since 1991 she has been lecturer in dermatology and applied immunology at the University of Bristol. She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and a fellow of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists.


MYCOBACTERIA are a large heterogeneous group of organisms, most of which are saprophytic and usually non-pathogenic. Several species can cause disease in cats, being either primary pathogens, or becoming pathogenic in certain circumstances. Mycobacterial syndromes seen in cats include classical tuberculosis, feline leprosy and opportunistic mycobacteriosis. All have been reported in the UK, where the majority of cases appear to be cutaneous in nature. All three syndromes can present with nodules, draining tracts and/or ulceration. In some cases, the disease may become generalised secondary to skin inoculation, but only occasional cases present with primary systemic disease. Where systemic disease is seen, infection with a member of the tuberculosis group is most likely. In many cases of feline mycobacteriosis, infection can be related to percutaneous injury, contamination via soil or the presence of devitalised tissue, and these factors tend to be reflected in the distribution of the lesions.

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