Within the TB complex group there are a number of species of mycobacteria, each with a varied degree of preference for different animal hosts. Common to many is the formation of tubercles, which are small, rounded and inflamed nodules.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis prefers humans as the primary host, although it can also infect a number of animal species including cats, dogs, badgers and cattle. Interestingly, cats show a high resistance to this species of Mycobacterium.
What treatments are available?
Treatment of TB in cats is difficult for many reasons and must be discussed in depth with your vet. There are no drugs licensed in the UK for direct treatment of animals with TB. Antibiotics have shown some degree of success, but treatment is long term and often requires several drugs in combination.
A large percentage of cats won’t recover from the disease, even with treatment. There is also the possibility for antibiotic resistance to develop, which must be considered carefully as TB is a serious human infection.
Finally, there is a possibility for those in close contact with the cat to become infected. Depending on the circumstances, treatment may not be recommended.
If you have any concerns or would like some advice, please get in touch with your local Vets4Pets.