Ask Dr. Richards

August 2008 Issue

Ask Elizabeth: 08/08

Hmm, if I had known about this disease during my days on the farm, I might not have been so keen on eating birds myself! Songbird fever is an uncommon disease of cats, that results from eating Salmonella-infected birds or from spending time in bird feeding areas (and ingesting contaminated bird feces). Symptoms of songbird fever appear suddenly two to four days after exposure, last two to seven days, and include high fever, anorexia, depression, diarrhea (which may contain blood) and vomiting. The diagnosis can be confirmed by bacterial culture of the feces or blood. Songbird fever is fatal in up to 10 percent of cases.

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