Bobcat Fever is on the rise in Middle Tennessee and it’s deadly for domestic cats.
Cytauxzoon Felis is often referred to as Bobcat Fever, as the bobcat is the natural host of the parasite.
A veterinarian at VCA Murphy Road Animal Hospital said it’s transmitted after a tick bites a bobcat and then bites a domestic cat. The American Dog tick and Lone Star tick can also carry the parasite.
Jessica Beasley lost her cat Tucky over the weekend after he was infected with the disease.
“Initially when he disappeared for a couple of days, we thought maybe he was out in the neighborhood, but he wasn’t; he was just hunkered down somewhere very sick with this,” she told News 2.
Tucky disappeared for a couple of days, but on Sunday, came out from under the house.
“I saw him walk down, walking very slowly in the backyard and actually thought he was sneaking up on a mole until he collapsed in the yard.”
Beasley said her vet immediately knew it was Bobcat Fever.
“He immediately knew when I brought him in and his eyes were already glazed over and he just knew because they are seeing so much of it now and I didn’t know it was so prevalent, had no idea,” she explained.
VCA Murphy Road Animal Hospital has seen two cases of Bobcat Fever in the past week.
“One passed away, one survived,” Associate Veterinarian Alyson Hopkins told News 2.
She said flea and tick repellent help, but the best thing you can do is keep your cats inside.
“It is absolutely tick season right now. Over the last three weeks it’s gotten really warm. The weather is definitely switching to late spring, summer and this is prime tick season, so I know that we are starting to see more cases of cytaux, the Bobcat Fever and this is the time that we see it.”
The disease is feline specific, so you don’t have to worry about yourself or dogs getting
Hopkins advised cat owners to keep an eye out for the symptoms, and the sooner you can catch them the faster a vet can get medication on board and try to minimize the severity of the disease.
“Symptoms can be anything from mild inappetence (loss of appetite) to jaundice to very severe neurologic abnormalities that can just appear – almost like they are not able to find their way around kind of in a stupor and vomiting, diarrhea and they also can get pretty significant fevers.”