Marmoset Monkey

scratch fever in primates

Cat scratch disease/Scratch Fever

As the name suggests, cat scratch disease (or cat scratch fever) is a bacterial infection that usually results from the scratch, or bite of an infected cat. It is usually the younger kittens and juvenile cats that carry the bacteria and, although Scratch Fever is usually not too worrying for us as humans, for your monkey babies (especially the smaller species - marmosets/golden hands and cotton top tamarinds, it can be fatal.

Human symptoms of Scratch Fever in humans can range from fevers, the chills, nausea, sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph glands and skin, loss of appetite and even cramps. If you own a cat, make sure that you wash your hands after playing with them, don't "rough-house" with your cat to prevent being bitten or scratched and Never let a cat (or any other animal for that matter) lick any open wounds that you may have.

If you suspect that your monkey has contracted Scratch Fever, it is vital to get them to a vet ASAP. They will perform a physical examination of your monkey to check for an enlarged spleen (situated just above your monkeys stomach, under the rib cage) to confirm if it is Scratch Fever.

Cat Scratch Disease can lead to a wide array of complications and conditions if it is not treated.
These can include:
Osteoemvelitis - the infection enters your bones and marrow, causing bone damage. This can lead to amputation in serious cases
Neuroretinitis and Parinaud Oculoglandular Syndrome both affect your vision and eyesight
Encephalopathy - the bacteria affects the brain. In some cases, this can lead to permanent brain damage or even death