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Veterinarians warning pet owners about deadly ‘Bobcat Fever’

OKLAHOMA CITY  – Pet owners are being warned about a deadly disease that is spreading across Oklahoma.

Experts said Bobcat Fever can only be passed to domestic cats through tick bites, and cases typically increase during the spring.

“My husband had noticed a little bit of nasal discharge and a little blood in it at first, and he said ‘I think you need to look at Paws,’” Barbara Tarbutton told News 4 in 2017.

Tarbutton says she knew something wasn’t right with her cat, Paw Paws.

“And, he didn’t walk right, and I mean I threw my clothes on within 20 minutes and we were out of here to the vet,” she said.

Within hours, the vet diagnosed Paw Paws with a blood parasite known as Bobcat Fever.

The cat was given an expensive medicine used to treat the disease, but it was no use.

“He got one dose of it and, on the way home from the vet, he died. It was just I couldn’t believe it,” Tarbutton said.

Experts said Bobcat Fever was named for the bobcat since they are the host reservoir for the disease.

“If we can get to it early enough, there are therapies we can do that will help the cat, but most cats will get the disease and pass away,"  Dr. David Biles, with Westwood Veterinary Hospital, told KFOR in 2017.

Some symptoms include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite and crying out in pain.

Veterinarians said pet owners should be vigilant and attempt to prevent tick bites in the first place.