Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Campylobacter jejuni

Synonym(s): C. jejuni

Contributor(s): Richard Walker




  • Family: Spirillaceae.
  • Genus: Campylobacter.
  • Used to be placed in the genus Vibrio.
  • Species: jejuni.


  • Greek: campylo - curved; bacter - rod; jejuni - of the jejunum.

Active Forms

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Clinical Effects



  • Found in animals and their products:
    • Milk.
    • Poultry.
    • Feces of dogs and cats.


  • Multiplies in the intestinal tract of the host and invades epithelial cells.
  • Transfers R. plasmids, which most commmonly carry tetracycline resistant genes.


  • Feco-oral route.
  • C. Jejuni infection is an important zoonosis.
  • Human beings and other susceptible species obtain infection from animal sources.
  • Infection of human beings occurs following ingestion of an animal product originally contaminated with infected feces.
  • Most human infections occur following consumption of poorly-cooked meat and unpasteurized milk.
  • Handling of animals (especially dogs and cats), may also be a source of human infection.

Control of infection in cattery

  • Use similar precautions when managing campylobacter infection as you would for parvovirus Feline panleucopenia virus disease:
    • Disinfectant/bleach footbaths at entrance to room.
    • Always wear protective clothing to prevent contamination and zoonotic transmission.
    • After handling case wash and spray whands with diluted bleach before handling next animal.
    • Use bleach solutions to clean cages and bedding.

Pathological effects

  • Produces an adhesin.
  • Produces a heat-labile enterotoxin and a cytotoxin but exact method of pathogenesis unknown.
  • Important zoonosis.
  • Causes:
    • Diarrhea.
    • Abdominal pain.
    • Fever.
    • Sometimes vomiting in human beings.

Other Host Effects

  • Normal intestinal flora.


Control via animal

  • Keep infected animals isolated.
  • Meticulous hygiene and cleaning to prevent spread.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Treat all in contact animals at the same time.
  • Enrofloxacin Enrofloxacin for 10 - 14 days.
    Always perform anaerobic culture from rectal swab (not diarrhea).
  • Erythromycin (40 mg/kg divided TID for 5 days) Erythromycin and tetracycline Tetracycline are used.
    R. plasmids encoding resistance to tetracycline occurs.

Enrofloxacin only effective in 60% cases.

  • Continue treatment until rectal swabs culture negative.

Control via environment

  • Control in veterinary hospitals and kennels is carried out by strict adherence to hygiene procedures including:
    • Hand-washing.
    • Cleaning and disinfection of equipment.
    • Human infections may be prevented by hygienic practices and thorough cooking of food.


This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from VetMed Resource and PubMed.
  • Acke E, McGill K, Golden O, Jones B R, Fanning S & Whyte P (2009) Prevalence of thermophilic Campylobacter species in household cats and dogs in Ireland. Vet Rec 164, 44-47 PubMed.
  • Author unknown (1998) Campylobacter infection. JSAP 39(2), 99-100.
  • Lister S A (1997) Raw meat poses risks to pets and owners. JAVMA 211(6), 698.
  • Fernandez H et al(1995) Invasive and enterotoxic properties in Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli strains isolated from humans and animals. Biol Res 28(3), 205-210.
  • Altekruse S F et al(1994) Food and animal sources of human Campylobacter jejuni infection. JAVMA 204(1), 57-61.
  • Dillon A R et al(1987) Campylobacter enteritis in dogs and cats. Vet Rec 116, 237.