Abstract Bartonella henselae (Bh) is an emerging zoonotic pathogen that has been associated with a variety of human diseases, including bacillary angiomatosis that is characterized by vasoproliferative tumor-like lesions on the skin of some immunosuppressed individuals. The study of Bh pathogenesis has been limited to in vitro cell culture systems due to the lack of an animal model. Therefore, we wanted to investigate whether the zebrafish embryo could be used to model human infection with Bh. Our data showed that Tg(fli1:egfp)(y1) zebrafish embryos supported a sustained Bh infection for 7 days with >10-fold bacterial replication when inoculated in the yolk sac. We showed that Bh recruited phagocytes to the site of infection in the Tg(mpx:GFP)uwm1 embryos. Infected embryos showed evidence of a Bh-induced angiogenic phenotype and an increase in the expression of genes encoding pro-inflammatory factors and pro-angiogenic markers. However, infection of zebrafish embryos with a deletion mutant in the major adhesin (BadA) resulted in little or no bacterial replication and a diminished host response, providing the first evidence that BadA is critical for in vivo infection. Thus, the zebrafish embryo provides the first practical model of Bh infection that will facilitate efforts to identify virulence factors and define molecular mechanisms of Bh pathogenesis.