Melioidosis is an uncommon bacterial infection of humans and animals. The disease-causing agent is Burkholderia pseudomallei, which occurs in the soil throughout southeast Asia, northern Australia, and the South Pacific. Melioidosis has been diagnosed in many animals, including cats and humans. Cats may succumb to infection due to a weakened immune system. The most common routes of infection are via skin inoculation, contamination of wounds, ingestion of soil or contaminated carcasses, or inhalation.
Infection may be associated with single or multiple curd-like nodules or abscesses, which can be located in any organ. Pneumonia is the most common form of the disease in both animals and humans. Lameness can occur. It is possible for an infection to lie dormant before becoming apparent. Death may result in animals with sudden and intense infections or when vital organs are affected. Treatment with antibiotics can be expensive and prolonged. Treatment protocols adopted for human infections are expected to have more success than the usual approach using conventional veterinary antibiotics. There is a risk that signs will return after treatment is discontinued, however (see Disorders Affecting Multiple Body Systems of Dogs: Melioidosis in Dogs).
Last full review/revision July 2011 by Otto M. Radostits, CM, DVM, MSc, DACVIM (Deceased); Eugene D. Janzen, DVM, MVS; Jodie Low Choy, BVMS; Dennis W. Macy, MS, DACVIM; Dudley L. McCaw, DVM, DACVIM (Small Animal, Oncology); Barton W. Rohrbach, VMD, MPH, DACVPM; J. Glenn Songer, PhD; Richard A. Squires, BVSc (Hons), PhD, DVR, DACVIM, DECVIM-CA, MRCVS; Bert E. Stromberg, PhD; Joseph Taboada, DVM, DACVIM; Charles O. Thoen, DVM, PhD; John F. Timoney, MVB, PhD, Dsc, MRCVS; Ian Tizard, BVMS, PhD, DACVM; Max J. Appel, DMV, PhD; David A. Ashford, DVM, MPH, DS; Stephen C. Barr, BVSc, MVS, PhD, DACVIM; J. P. Dubey, MVSc, PhD; Paul Ettestad, DVM, MS; Craig E. Greene, DVM, MS; Delores E. Hill, PhD; Johnny D. Hoskins, DVM, PhD