New Cases of Bobcat Fever Prompts Tick Control Warning

Cytauxzoonosis, a parasitic blood infection also known as “bobcat fever,” has been linked to several cat deaths in Mississippi.

Posted: September 17, 2007 5 a.m. EDT

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Knowledge is the strongest weapon for owners to prevent Bobcat Fever
Cats need tick control to prevent a fatal disease that has recently spread through much of the south and eastern seaboard of the United States.
Although the disease is not new to the state, these cases have prompted veterinarians to stress the importance of tick control to pet owners.

“The key to protecting your cat is prevention because there is no cure for this disease,” said Sharon Grace, DVM, clinical professor at Mississippi State University (MSU) College of Veterinary Medicine. “Owners need to apply a topical product that will kill ticks that carry the pathogen.”

Even indoor cats need tick control because the American dog tick, the carrier of the disease which picks up the pathogen from an infected bobcat, can unknowingly be brought into the house by a human or a dog, she said.

The product must contain fipronil for tick control to be effective, Dr. Grace said.

Dogs cannot contract the disease and neither can humans. Also, infected cats cannot give the disease to other cats.

“This terrible disease is difficult to diagnose and treat, fatal in most cats, and hard to observe in a patient dying of it,” she said. “The goal is to identify the disease early enough so that the veterinarian can humanely euthanize the cat to prevent further suffering.”

Symptoms, which can be confused with other diseases such as mycoplasma, toxoplasmosis and feline infectious peritonitis, include becoming depressed and listless, and refusing to eat and drink. Cats can look jaundiced and have a paleness around their gums, nose and eye tissue. An extreme fever as high as 108 degrees is the most observable sign, according to MSU.

Cytauxzoonosis, which was first discovered in Missouri and eastern Oklahoma in about 1973, is being reported more often and is moving boundaries.

The seasonal movement of bobcats and ticks has distributed the disease through much of the south and the eastern seaboard of the United States. There is evidence the disease is also moving north, Grace said.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions and more research is needed to get a better understanding of the disease, Grace said.

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Reader Comments

Sara S    Lebanon, TN

9/10/2013 1:02:07 PM

We just lost our little Sheldon due to this horrible 'fever'.. We had no idea that this even existed, but I am now he||bent to tell ALL my cat owner friends about this and educate them to the best of my ability.

Christine    Spring City, TN

7/18/2013 6:16:57 AM

My year old Tabby is on his 6th day of treatment for Bobcat fever. Saturday the vet thought he wouldn't live till Monday but he's hanging in there & I'm pretty sure he's going to make it. Lots of meds twice a day and more injections next week - and lots of prayers to St-Francis!

My main observation of Kitty since he's been back from the vet is that he has become extremely attached to me and is so loving that he appears to be a different cat. I guess being close to death will do that to you! Also, strangely is that he's lost his purring device! You can tell he's very content & happy but he no longer purrs. Vet says once he's fully recovered he'll start to purr again!

Brandy    Nashville, TN

5/13/2013 8:45:49 PM

Having already lost our 2-year old male tabby last May and my neighbor losing her 1 year-old male tabby two weeks ago to Bobcat Fever, I feel compelled to share with my fellow cat lovers/owners the success story we have just personally experienced. Thee weeks ago my seven month old kitten came down with Bobcat Fever. They gave me two options: 1) hospitalize him. 2) take him home with pills. I chose option number. He is what did.

we gave him the anti-maleria powder every eight hours and the liquid antibiotic once a day. We had to open up the capsule and pour the bright yellow powder onto a piece of paper and divide it in two as he was only to receive half the does at a time…so, basically it was 1 and ½ pills a day.

I pour it into a syringe and add about 2 to 3 milliliters of water to get fluids in him. Wrap your cat in a towel so that his arms and legs are pinned inside. If you don’t do this, your cat will fight like hell. Hold him by the back of the neck like a mother cat does and quickly shoot the contents of the syringe into his mouth. I would do this again in the afternoon but mix it with kitten milk or chicken broth so as to make sure he was also getting some nutrition. On the sixth day of this regimen his fever came way down and by that next morning he ate and drank on his own. By the next day he was asking to be fed on a regular basis. This anti-malaria treatment is for two weeks and if your cat gets through the first week, the second week is much easier because you can just put the yellow powder in some wet food and your cat will do the rest.

Last, but certainly not least, there is one product on the market that will prevent ticks from biting your cat thus avoiding the situation all together. It just came out in January of this year and it is called the Seresto tick collar, and it lasts for 8 months. You can get it from your vet or at most pet stores. So far, my cats have not had any more tick problems and the vets confirm that they use it with the same results.

Brandy Reed

Anita    Hastings,, OK

3/7/2012 11:49:47 AM

New flash, Bob cat fever is alive and well, I know this because I have an inside cat who has come down with it. She was fine 3 days ago and now may die. I have had her to the vets office and they are trying what they know, does anyone out there know somthing else that I can pass along to them?

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