By Dr. Elizabeth Paschall
Tiny Tick was hungry. He found Bobbi Bobcat who was willing to share some of his blood to feed Tiny Tick. Unbeknownst to Tiny and Bobbi, Cytaux Felis was a stowaway in Bobbi’s red blood cells which Tiny Tick feasted on. Tiny thanked Bobbi for the meal and went on his way.
A few days later Petie Pet Cat was sunbathing after an exciting morning of chasing lizards and butterflies. Petie stretched and rolled over in the green grass to let the sun warm his tummy – right on top of Tiny Tick! Tiny Tick, hungry again and angry at getting squashed, decided to steal blood from Petie without asking. While Tiny Tick was feasting Cytaux Felis hitched a ride into Petie’s skin. Cytaux Felis immediately went to work clogging up very small veins in all of Petie’s organs.
In a few days, Petie became very sick, painful, and feverish. His skin turned a pale yellow. Petie’s veterinarian, Dr. P., knows Cytaux Felis and his MO all too well. She knew exactly who to look for and where. Using the microscope for magnification of Petie’s red blood cells Dr. P used a special stain to expose the stowaway – Cytaux Felis. Sadly, Cytaux Felis could not be killed and the damage that he had done could not be repaired. Dr. P held Petie’s paw and kissed his nose as she transported him to the Rainbow Bridge where there is no pain and no disease only happiness and bliss forever.
Cytauxzoon Felis, also known as bobcat fever, is a very deadly disease for domestic cats.
The disease is transmitted by ticks that have previously fed on a bobcat. Benton County has both bobcats and ticks which put our domestic cats at high risk.
The infection causes intense pain and suffering. Mortality (death) rates are very high. Treatment options are very limited and have a low success rate. Therefore, protecting cats from tick bites is imperative.
Options for tick control on cats are:
- Keep them indoors during tick season. We see the most disease in May, June, and July.
- Seresto collar – beware of counterfeit collars purchased online.
- Revolution Plus