As if ticks weren’t bad enough already, there is a tick borne parasite on the rise. It’s called Cytauxzoon felis and it causes a very serious disease called Cytauxzoonosis. The organism infects the blood cells of cats, including house cats, by a tick bite. And yes, we have had cases at Town N Country.
Cats who live outdoors near wooded areas are most at risk, although if you have other pets who go in and out, they can bring the ticks into your house cat.
When the disease first became known, most cats who caught it died. Thankfully, science and experience have taught veterinarians how to diagnose the disease earlier.
What are the Symptoms? The symptoms of Cytauxzoonosis are very general – loss of appetite and energy, dehydration, difficulty breathing, and pale gums. There may also be a very high fever, rapid heart rate, and weight loss. Often the cat vocalizes pain.
A blood test may reveal anemia and jaundice, and abnormal blood counts. It may also show C. felis organism in the blood.
What’s the Treatment? If we diagnose your cat with C. felis, we’ll probably admit her to the hospital for fluids, blood transfusions, and intravenous medication. If we catch it early, the prognosis is better, but it is a very serious disease.
What Can I Do? Tick prevention is the number one way to prevent Cytauxzoonosis. We know we remind you of this over and over, but Cytauxzoonosis is one of the reasons why preventative care is so crucial for your cat.
If your cat has been bitten by a tick and is displaying any symptoms associated with Cytauxzoonosis, do not wait. Let us know immediately, so we can rule out this disease, or start your cat on a treatment plan. As always, if you have questions, ask us.