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Veterinarians warning Oklahoma pet owners about deadly ‘Bobcat fever’

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – With summer just around the corner, it seems that some of the common summer pests are already out in full force.

Oklahomans are already aware of the dangers associated with Lyme Disease, Zika virus and West Nile virus.

Now, veterinarians across the state are watching the spread of a lesser known disease that is affecting pets in nearby states.

Bobcat fever is a disease that is spread by ticks and affects cats.

“The Lone Star tick has been carrying this disease for a long time, and cats have been getting it for a long time,” Dr. Laura Nafe, a veterinarian at OSU, told the Norman Transcript. “The Lone Star Tick is really common in Oklahoma and it carries a lot of diseases that affect cats and dogs.”

Bobcat fever can kill a cat less than a week after it begins to show signs of the illness.

Norman resident Barbara Tarbutton told the newspaper that her beloved cat succumbed to the disease after being bit by a tick recently.

“It was just so sudden, I didn’t known about it prior to this,” she told the Norman Transcript. “He couldn’t walk right and had a little blood from his nose. We took him to the vet, but he died. They put in a lot of effort to make sure that’s what it was and to get the medication.”

Veterinarians say it is important to get treatment as soon as possible if your cat seems lethargic or has a high fever.

Even with treatment, the odds of survival are only around 50 percent.

Instead, experts say the best thing you can do is attempt to prevent your pet from being bitten. Give your cat medication to prevent ticks and fleas, and check them regularly for the pests.