Bobcat fever, whose scientific name is Cytauxzoonfelis, was first documented in Missouri in the 70s. It only affects cats and is spread solely through tick bites, and in all too many incidences proves to be fatal.
A number of cases have been reported in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri, and so pet owners in these areas are advised to be extremely vigilant.Dr. Paige Bonner of AllPets Animal Hospital described to KTHV:
We used to think it wasn't as common here, but it seems to be occurring more and more frequently.
The disease gets its name from bobcats which are said to be the original host of the deadly bacteria, however, it has since been found that domestic cats too are able to act as carriers for the disease.
The illness is caused by tick bites which transfer the cytauxzoon felis bacteria to the cat. It doesn't take long for bobcat fever to take hold and so early action is vital.The main symptoms of the illness are a lack of appetite, tiredness, difficulty breathing, moderate to severe pain, a high fever and in some cases jaundice.The bacteria works extremely quickly and so if any of these symptoms occur alongside a tick bite, it is absolutely essential to go to a veterinary center straight away. The disease can be fatal, but if detected and treated early, survival rates reach up to 60%.
The best prevention techniques are to avoid heavily wooded or brushy areas, particularly in the warmer months from April to September. Tick repellent sprays can be useful in some cases but will never be 100% effective against the organisms.The main advice issued to pet owners is to be vigilant about their cat's physical condition and not to hesitate to take them to the emergency clinic if in doubt.To find out more about bobcat fever click, here.
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