OVERVIEW: Haemoplasmas are haemotropic bacteria that can induce anaemia in a wide range of mammalian species. Infection in cats: Mycoplasma haemofelis is the most pathogenic of the three main feline haemoplasma species known to infect cats. ' Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum' and ' Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis' are less pathogenic but can result in disease in immunocompromised cats. Male, non-pedigree cats with outdoor access are more likely to be haemoplasma infected, and ' Candidatus M haemominutum' is more common in older cats. All three haemoplasma species can be carried asymptomatically. Transmission: The natural mode of transmission of haemoplasma infection is not known, but aggressive interactions and vectors are possibilities. Transmission by blood transfusion can occur and all blood donors should be screened for haemoplasma infection.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT: PCR assays are the preferred diagnostic method for haemoplasma infections. Treatment with doxycycline for 2-4 weeks is usually effective for M haemofelis-associated clinical disease (but this may not clear infection). Little information is currently available on the antibiotic responsiveness of ' Candidatus M haemominutum' and ' Candidatus M turicensis'.