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Song Bird Fever in Cats

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Song Bird Fever is a condition caused by ingestion of decayed carcass of a song bird. Ingestion of the spoiled carcass is often contaminated with bacteria and bacterial toxins that can cause severe and even life threatening signs. After ingestion, various bacteria (including Streptococcusspp, Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfringens and/or "Bacillus spp.) are present in the gastrointestinal tract and can produce toxins that are absorbed into the blood stream. These bacteria can produce toxins that cause shock, collapse and death.

Song Bird Toxicosis is most common in indoor/outdoor or outdoor cats that are allowed to roam and hunt. It is most common during the summer months.

It is possible that this condition is Zoonotic – meaning it can be transmitted to people by exposure to the bacteria. It is most common in children, elderly or those with compromised immune systems.

What to Watch For

Signs may begin within 15 minutes of ingestion or within 6 to 8 hours post ingestion.

  • Diarrhea – can be foul smelling, watery or bloody
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite (anorexia)
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Can progress to shock and death

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