Plague (Yersinia pestis)

A plague is caused by a bacteria known as Yersinia pestis, which can cause infection in both animals and people. This infection usually spreads mainly due to fleas in the Western United States. However, they can transfer the bacteria to rodents and other small animals. Therefore, pets, i.e., cats, dogs, and people, can catch this disease if the infected fleas bite them. Additionally, dogs and cats can get ill with the plague and transfer the infection to their owners and other people. 

How it spreads: Getting in contact with or touching the plague-infected animals and flea bites can cause the infection in people and animals. In addition to this, inhaling the infectious droplets spread due to the coughs of the sick cats can also cause infection among people.  

Who is at risk: Residents or those who travel to the Western United States, particularly the rural areas, are at higher risk of catching this infection. In addition, excessive contact with the pets, such as; sleeping with the pets, are more prone to getting infected than others. 

Signs in cats: Cats are especially at risk for the plague. Cats with plague may have a fever, low appetite, low energy, and swollen lymph nodes on their neck that can sometimes look like a wound. In addition, cats can develop plague pneumonia and may cough or have difficulty breathing. Owners should minimize contact with sick pets and seek veterinary care as soon as possible to decrease the risk of getting sick.

Symptoms in people: People most of the time get infected with the Bubonic plague. Infected people may show the signs of high fever, headaches, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and weakness. Additionally, other types of plague such as; plague pneumonia and septicemic plague may result in severe symptoms.