Bobcat Fever a concern for Oklahoma cats

OKLAHOMA CITY - Tick season is also a high-alert season for house cats in Oklahoma.

"Ticks bite bobcats, take the infection and bite domestic cats. That's how domestic cats get the infection," said Dr. Deepan Kishore, DVM, MS, DABVP of Neel Veterinary Clinic.

Bobcat Fever is a protozoanal infection, such as amoebas in the blood. Wild bobcats carry the microscopic creatures. They are ingested by Lone Star ticks and when the ticks bite domestic cats it's usually fatal.

"We had one cat that came in last night and in spite of aggressive therapy, it didn`t make it. But we had another cat last week that we treated and seems to be doing OK," said Kishore.

The Oklahoma State Veterinary Medical hospital issued a news release on Monday warning cat owners about the dangers of the infection.

"In the past, it used to be about 100 percent mortality," said Kishore.

But the OSU study says new combinations in drug therapy have resulted in a 60 percent survival rate nationwide, but their research says in Oklahoma there is a lower survival rate.

"Maybe we have a different strain, we don`t know," said Kishore.

Vets say it's important to see the symptoms early.

"Not wanting to move around, not wanting to eat, just a depressed cat," said Kishore.

Cats can have pale gums, a sign of anemia, or yellow coloring in the eyes, which is a sign of jaundice.

With all the rain, ticks are multiplying fast, so it's important to keep your four-legged friend out of danger.

"Keep your cats indoors, second, if they have to outdoors keep them on flea and tick prevention," said Kishore.

Vets say collars and topical tick prevention medicines are vital this time of year. And, at the first sign of sickness, take your cat to the vet because treatment seems to work better the earlier it's used.

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