ISSN 2398-2950      

Mycoplasma haemofelis, 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum' and 'Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis'


Synonym(s): Haemotrophic mycoplasmas, Haemobartonella felis, haemoplasmas, feline infectious anemia, FIA, Eperythrozoon felis




  • Species: M. haemofelis and M. haemominutum.
  • Genus: Mycoplasma.
  • Family: Mycoplasmataceae.
  • Order: Mycoplasmatales.
  • Class: Mollicutes.

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Clinical Effects



  • The erythrocyte surface.


  • Following inoculation, bacteria numbers increase rapidly to reach a maximum between 10 and 30 days depending on the infecting species.


  • Experimental transmission possible with infected blood given IV, IP, SC and orally.
  • Vectors may be involved. Exact mode unknown, Ctenocephalides felis  Ctenocephalides felis  are suspected of transmitting M. haemofelis, but M. haemofelis has occurred in Salt Lake City, Utah, where fleas are virtually unknown. Ticks have also been implicated.
  • Biting may transmit infection.
  • Transplacental may be possible - M. haemofelis has been found in kittens less than a day old. Certainly queen to kitten transmission occurs, but whether this is before or after birth is unknown.
  • Iatrogenic - real risk of transmission via blood transfusions   Anemia: transfusion indications  .

Pathological effects

  • Usually affects cats with some degree of immunosuppression but may be primary pathogen in some cases especially when M. haemofelis is the infecting haemoplasma species.
  • Can induce an immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. Cats can become Coombs' positive or show positive autoagglutination after washing of erythrocytes in saline.
  • Parasitized red blood cells are sequestered in the spleen, where the parasite is removed.
  • Pyrexia, 104.5-107°F.
  • Regenerative anemia Anemia: overview, mild or severe (PCV = 0.1-0.3 l/l). Anemia may be non-regenerative if concurrent disease present or in acute stages.
  • Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia Anemia: immune-mediated hemolytic.
  • Pale mucous membranes.
  • Anorexia, pica, depression, weight loss.
  • Splenomegaly.
  • Dehydration marked in acutely infected cases.
  • Jaundice in severe and acute cases.
  • Fading kittens Fading kitten syndrome(which may be jaundiced: differentiate from neonatal isoerythrolysis Neonatal isoerythrolysiswhich occurs in first 24-48 h of life).
  • Unlike haemotropic mycoplasmas of dogs, cats with spleens can show signs of disease, particularly with M. haemofelis (in dogs, disease due to haemotropic mycoplasmas usually seen only in splenectomized animals).


Control via chemotherapies

  • Doxycycline  Doxycycline 5-10 mg/kg SID-BID.
  • Oxytetracycline  Oxytetracycline 20 mg/kg TID. 
  • Marbofloxacin  Marbofloxacin  2 mg/kg SID.
  • Other fluoroquinolones likely to be effective.
  • No antibiotic treatment regime has been shown to consistently eliminate haemoplasma infection, although regimes are usually effective at resolving clinical signs. Recommendation is for 6-8 weeks of antibiotic treatment to maximize chances of clearance of infection.
  • Some recommend prednisolone  Prednisolone (1-2 mg/kg BID, reducing as improvement occurs) if immune-mediated hemolytic anemia is present but cats with positive Coombs' tests  Direct Coombs' test usually recover with antibiotic treatment alone suggesting that corticosteroids are not required.

Control via environment

  • Separate infected from non-infected cats.
  • Vigorous flea control.
  • Treat all infected animals.
  • Haemoplasmas do not survive outside of the host.


  • No vaccine.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Dowers K L, Tasker S, Radecki S V et al (2009) Use of pradofloxacin to treat experimentally induced Mycoplasma hemofelis infection in cats. Am J Vet Res 70 (1), 105-111 PubMed.
  • Gentilini F, Novacco M, Turba M E et al (2009) Use of combined conventional and real-time PCR to determine the epidemiology of feline haemoplasma infections in northern Italy. J Feline Med Surg 11 (4), 277-285 PubMed.
  • Museux K, Boretti F S, Willi B et al (2009) In vivo transmission studies of 'Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis' in the domestic cat. Vet Res 40 (5), 45 PubMed.
  • Tasker S, Peters I R, Papasouliotis K et al (2009) Description of outcomes of experimental infection with feline haemoplasmas: copy numbers, haematology, Coombs' testing and blood glucose concentrations. Vet Microbiol 139 (3-4), 323-332 PubMed.
  • Macieira D B, de Menezes R D, Damico C B et al (2008) Prevalence and risk factors for hemoplasmas in domestic cats naturally infected with feline immunodeficiency virus and/or feline leukemia virus in Rio de Janeiro--Brazil. J Feline Med Surg 10 (2), 120-129 PubMed.
  • Peters I R, Helps C R, Willi B et al (2008) The prevalence of three species of feline haemoplasmas in samples submitted to a diagnostics service as determined by three novel real-time duplex PCR assays. Vet Microbiol 126 (1-3), 142-150 PubMed.
  • Sykes J E, Terry J C, Lindsay L L et al (2008) Prevalences of various hemoplasma species among cats in the United States with possible hemoplasmosis. JAVMA 232 (3), 372-379 PubMed.
  • Ishak A M, Radecki S & Lappin M R (2007) Prevalence of Mycoplasma haemofelis, 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum', Bartonella species, Ehrlichia species, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum DNA in the blood of cats with anemia. J Feline Med Surg (1), 1-7 PubMed.
  • Reynolds C A & Lappin M R (2007) "Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum" infections in 21 client-owned cats. JAAHA 43 (5), 249-257 PubMed.
  • Sykes J E, Drazenovich N L, Ball L M et al (2007) Use of conventional and real-time polymerase chain reaction to determine the epidemiology of hemoplasma infections in anemic and nonanemic cats. J Vet Int Med 21 (4), 685-693 PubMed.
  • Sykes J E, Drazenovich N L, Kyles A E et al (2007) Detection of mixed infections with "Candidatus Mycoplasma haemonomitum" and Mycoplasma haemofelis using real-time TaqMan polymerase chain reaction. J Vet Diag Inves 19 (3), 250-255 PubMed.
  • Willi B, Boretti F S, Tasker S et al (2007) From Haemobartonella to hemoplasma: molecular methods provide new insights. Vet Microbiol 125 (3-4), 197-209 PubMed.
  • Tasker S (2006) Current concepts in feline haemobartonellosis. In Practice 28 (3), 136-141 VetMedResource.
  • Tasker S, Caney S M, Day M J et al (2006) Effect of chronic feline immunodeficiency infection, and efficacy of marbofloxacin treatment on 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum' infection. Microbes Infect (3), 653-661 PubMed.


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