Adult animals commonly have Campylobacter organisms living in their intestines but they do not experience any sickness due to it.
In humans, Campylobacter infection is a leading cause of gastrointestinal (GI) disease; infected dogs and cats can carry the organism and spread it even if they do not have symptoms themselves. For this reason, Savannah cats used for therapy in assisted living communities, near small children and similar situations should be screened for Campylobacter by fecal PCR
before exposure to people with suppressed immunity. Only 6% of human Campylobacter infections are from animal exposure. That said, exposure to a cat with diarrhea triples a person’s risk for developing enteritis from Campylobacter jejuni or Campylobacter coli. Studies screening pet animals exhibiting no symptoms of infection have found surprisingly high incidences of infection. In one study in the Midwest, 24% of 152 healthy cats were positive. After an animal consumes Campylobacter organisms, they travel to the lower small intestine, attach, and begin to multiply. They produce a toxin that destroys the lining of the intestine. The result is a bloody, mucous diarrhea (though occasionally a more watery diarrhea is common). Sometimes a fever results, appetite becomes poor, and vomiting can occur. Incubation is 2 to 5 days. The organism can survive up to a month in feces. Once the only form of diagnosis was to see seagull-shaped organisms under the microscope. There are so many bacterial organisms on a fecal sample that finding the culprit can be tricky. For this reason, a culture or fecal PCR
is often performed as a more accurate test. Laboratories such as UC Davis perform the correct pcr testing. Treatment is with appropriate antibiotics. Erythromycin is currently the drug of choice. In case you need a reason to own a Savannah cat you will find 101 reasons here