Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Optic Neuritis from Cat Scratch Disease (Bartonella henselae)

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 5 Replies
  • Posted By: mtrocine
  • February 16, 2007
  • 04:20 PM

What is the best treatment for this? How long will I still experience pain from the optic nerve and lymph swelling? Will it continue after antibiotic treatment? Looking for a Dr in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area that will take me seriously.

I'm going to include both my and my cat's history since that may lead to my diagnosis. I have health insurance and have been to doctors but most do not want to actually take the time to listen to what the patient has to say. I believe that I may have CSD but I'm not sure how to get a doctor to take my case seriously or where to go. I live in the South Jersey Area.

Mid August 2006 - Bring my healthy appearing kitten (about 7 months old) to the vet to get vacinated

End August/Begin September 2006 - 2 to 3 weeks after I notice my cat sneezed a few times - I don't consider he picked something up at the vets at the time - just figured something irritated him or a little cold -he is an indoor and only pet

End of September 2006 - Cat begins what sounds like a hairball cough despite being a short haired cat and that I brush him a few times a week. I give him hairball medicine.

Mid October 2006 - I am scratched by the cat but don't really make a deal of it since I've had cats before and didn't know about CSD. I have a healthy immune system but I usually work over 40 hours a week, go to school part time, and try to make it to the gym 4 to 5 times a week so I tend to wear myself down. The cat continues to cough more often though it really sounds like hairballs - I decided to take him to the vet.

End of October 2006 - I feel as if I've been run over by a truck-everything hurts and my lymph nodes are really swollen-neck is sore - bad headaches. I contribute it to being run down. Cat continues to get worse - I bring him to the vet and they give me an antihistimine for him.

Begin of November 2006 - I still have the swollen lymph nodes and headaches grow worse. I'm not a moody irritable person but I snap at people because my head hurts despite taking pain relievers for it. On a Friday my left eye starts to bother me - like an infection its very sore - I wear contact lenses and work on computers so I attribute it to that. Note-My cat's litter box is under the sink in the bathroom which is also where I put in my contact lenses - I have dropped lenses on the floor and rinsed them off but I know that just because something appears clean there may still be bacteria that I didn't see. Friday my symptoms grow worse to the point of nausea from the head/neck/eye pain. I use genimicin eye drops I had left over from an eye infection that were still good because I can't see the Dr til Monday.

Monday I notice my vison in my left eye is cloudy which I think is from my glasses but it scares me a bit. I have an eye dr apt Tuesday. I go to the eye Dr who sees small retinal leisons and thinks I may have a tear-sent to a retinal specialist who rules that out. Wednesday go to Wills Eye in Philly-finger count vision in left eye (horrible pain with eye movement) diagnosed with Optic Neuritis. Prescribed IV steriods and have an MRI taken. I didn't know about CSD so I didn't bring it up to the Wills Eye Dr. I do know that I had bilateral optic disc edema even though only my left eye was visually affected. The following week I have 3 days of 1000mg of steriods twice a day IV drip. My vision comes back to 20/20 with contacts/glasses in the next few weeks.

My finger the cat scratched is still sore/red despite the wound not being open anymore (scab). I go to move a hair off of my face and I notice that its hot to the touch - my other fingertips are much cooler. I know this is sign of an infection so I figure I will take care of it when I get home from work. I sterilize a needle, lance the finger and a bunch of white puss comes out. I reopen the wound and clean it with alcohol and antibacterial soap and put neosporin on it three times a day and it heals with a scar but the infection is gone.

End of December 2006 - Cat's cough grows worse-sounds like whooping type of cough - vet prescribes asthma meds for the cat. I begin to get headaches/sore neck again-the only thing I can think of is that I have mono but I ask my brother because he had mono before and he had more then just swollen lymph nodes and headaches.

January 2007 - Cat is now waking me up 3 to 4 times a night with his coughing spells. I bring him to the vet again and they give me Amoxicillan for him. I record the cat coughing on my cell and let the vet hear it and its a different type of cough-sounds like a hairball. They xray him and no blockages. My neck/head pain grow worse and this time I feel it behind my good eye. I do searches on bilateral edema because I really don't think that I have MS but wonder that since I and the cat have been sick if there is something I can get or what??? I read about CSD and bartonella (sp?) bacteria and what it does to people and cats. The cat grows worse while on amoxicillian. I go to the Dr for a sinus infection (hoping its that and not another bout of optic neuritis) and he also gives me amoxicillian. I feel better a few hours after I take my first dose but then I feel bad again. I do more reading and learn that this bartonell is resistant to amoxicillan. I tried bringing up CSD to my Dr but because I'm 29 and don't have any immue issues he just tells me its prb a sinus infection. When I learn that this bacteria is resistant to Amox and that I am not getting better only worse I lie and tell my dr I think I'm getting hives from amox and he gives me Zithromax. I begin to feel better two days after starting Zithromax. I call the vet and they also put the cat on Zithromax because I requested it. They tell me its rare that cats show symptoms from bartonella but they give me the Zithromax anyway. He begins to get better too.

The cat improves where he only has a coughing fit once a night instead of three to four times. Both of us finish the taking ten days of Zithromax. I come home from work and I get scared-he's breathing shallow and is very lethargic. The vet tells me to bring him in that night. I request a vet that is older and experienced. This vet listens when I tell him about the cat and what I think is wrong (I work with computers so I trouble shot my cat-lol- ex: what is resistant to amox and so on). The vet gives him a shot of steroids and Zeniquin for ten days (he tells me its the cat version of leviquin (Quinolone family). Cat is now off of asthma med and has two days left of antibiotics. He stopped coughing the first day on the Zeniquin and has been healthy and cough free since-he is no longer on the asthma medicine either.

Please give me your thoughts on this. My optic neuritis did improve but I still get pain in the nerve area. Is this normal if I'm healed? I have Aetna so I have to go through my primary doctor to see a specialist does anyone know of one in the South Jersey/Philly Area that deals with this. I don't know what to do...should I go on leviquin and see if it heals me like my cat. I'm 29 years old and otherwise healthy-eat right not overweight don't drink much (a few a week socially). HELP!

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5 Replies:

  • What You Have Gotten From Your Cat Is Called Toxioplasmosis. It Is Generated From Cat Feces. You Must Have Rubbed The Cat Or Cleaned The Cat Box Then Transfered Some Debris To Your Eye. It Has Nothing To Do With The Cat Coughing. This Disease Is Why Pregnant Women Should Not Clean Out The Litter Box. The Toxins Easily Transfer To The Fetus. I Would Hope You Have Gotten Immediate Care The Long Term Effects Can Be Total Vision Loss.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am confused.. I've researched for the disease and I found out that it is commonly seen on children 1-2 weeks after a cat scratch or a bite.. It can be sure by taking multiple antibiotics..but the safest way is to go to a doctor and ask for assistance.
    The PPC Company 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • This is an infection commonly found in children when they are scratch or bitten by a cat of course.. I saw this disease happened on my cousin, what we did was to get him visit a doctor and he recommend a number of antibiotics.
    farid sarah 3 Replies Flag this Response
  • Cat scratch is an infectious disease that could be prevented.. it is commonly seen on children just like what the previous poster have said. Also it is commonly seen in the neck or underarm. If you suspect that you have the infection call the doctor and ask for assistance.
    Anthony Maner 2 Replies Flag this Response
  • Cat scratch is an infectious disease that could be prevented.. it is commonly seen on children just like what the previous poster have said. Also it is commonly seen in the neck or underarm. If you suspect that you have the infection call the doctor and ask for assistance.Exactly. It is still important to see the doctor right away once you see a child has a cat scratch. http://www.hlc.com.hk
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
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