Your cat may not survive bobcat fever
TYLER, TX (KLTV) –
If your cat likes to roam outside, you might want to check him for ticks. In particular, Lone Star ticks.
These ticks have the potential to carry bobcat fever, which is deadly to cats. Cases have been reported in the south-central United States, but since the Lone Star tick is in Texas, the disease may be present here.
Cats like to explore, so it’s not uncommon for those creatures to hitch a ride.
A hitchhiker you should not let your cat pick up is this guy: The lone star tick. But it’s not really this big, it’s tick-sized. It’s called the lone star tick because of the spot on its back, not because it’s from Texas.
But, according to the C.D.C., the ticks live in over half of the state, and because cats are, well, cats it’s hard to notice the symptoms.
We spoke with a local vet to find out what to look for.
“Jaundice, anemia, severe lethargy, inappetence, fever, and they can already be very, very ill before we even see them in the clinic,” Laura Cauthen explained.
Dr. Laura Cauthen of Animal Medical Center of Tyler goes on to explain that most Lone Star ticks are not carriers. The tick isn’t born with bobcat fever; it has to get it from a host like a bobcat or another infected feline.
Once it carries blood parasites, the infected tick can give your cat cytauxzoonosis if it feeds long enough.
“There’s very limited treatment. Most of the treatment that we’ve tried is experimental and has been unsuccessful,” Dr. Cauthen said.
Cats that pick up the disease usually don’t make it.
Can this disease jump to people?
“No, this particular blood parasite cannot,” Dr. Cauthen stated.
Dogs can’t get it either.
Of course, the best defense is keeping your cat indoors, but if he gets out, make sure to check him out when he gets back in.
Dr. Cauthen suggests using a tick collar or a spray if your cat likes to get out into nature. She also suggests keeping the vegetation trimmed or cut down and treating areas where your cat may go.