Thursday, 27 June 2013

Tick-Caused Bobcat Fever Can Be Deadly to Domestic Cats

June 24, 2013 — Kansas State University veterinarians are warning pet owners to watch out for ticks carrying a disease that could kill cats.

Cytauxzoon felis, also known as bobcat fever, is a blood parasite that infects domestic cats and has a very high death rate. Susan Nelson, a veterinarian and clinical associate professor at Kansas State University's Veterinary Health Center, says this disease was thought to be carried only by the American dog tick, but now may be carried by the lone star tick, which is quite prevalent in northeast Kansas.

"Most people have probably seen a lone star tick even if they're not familiar with them by name," Nelson said. "They're the ones that have a bright white spot on their back."

Bobcat fever does not affect humans or dogs. It is called bobcat fever because bobcats are considered the main reservoir for the disease, as it is typically not fatal for them.

Most cases of bobcat fever occur from March through September, which coincides with the times cats are most likely to encounter ticks. Late spring and early summer are the peak times for ticks in Kansas.

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