MSD Manual

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Pet Owner Version

Glanders (Farcy) in Cats


John F. Timoney

, MVB, PhD, Department of Veterinary Science, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Kentucky

Reviewed/Revised Aug 2018 | Modified Oct 2022

Glanders is a contagious, short- or longterm, usually fatal disease of horses caused by the bacterium Burkholderia mallei. The disease is characterized by the development of a series of ulcerating nodules. The nodules are most commonly found in the upper respiratory tract, lungs, and skin. Humans, cats, dogs, and other species are susceptible, but infections in cats are uncommon. Infections in humans and cats are often fatal. Glanders is one of the oldest diseases known and once was prevalent worldwide. It has now been eliminated or effectively controlled in many countries, including the USA. In recent years, the disease has been reported in the Middle East, Pakistan, India, Mongolia, China, Brazil, and Africa.

There is no vaccine for glanders. Prevention and control depend on early detection of affected animals. Complete quarantine and rigorous disinfection is required for all housing and objects that have been in contact with the infected animal. Euthanasia is usually recommended for infected animals because of the risk the disease poses to people and other animals.

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