You may have seen or heard what bartonellosis can do to humans, but how do various Bartonella species affect the pets you care for every day?
It’s hard to say, says Dr. Edward Breitschwerdt, DACVIM, professor of medicine and infectious diseases at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh, N.C. While some of the 26 species of the bacteria pose health concerns to dogs and cats, it’s not always clear how much it affects the animals—particularly since many animals can carry the organisms for years without becoming outwardly sick.
Some strains of Bartonella can cause symptoms like lethargy, anemia, weight loss, and endocarditis in dogs.
According to Dr. Breitscwerdt, the veterinary world has a lot to learn about the transmission of Bartonella—and while researchers continue to make progress, a complete understanding of the bacteria is still a ways off.