WHAT IS BOBCAT FEVER?
The disease is formally known as Cytauxzoonosis, caused by a single-celled protozoal organism called Cytauxzoon Felis.
It's transmitted by the Lone Star tick. When this tick feeds on an infected host (most likely a Bobcat, it then carries the Cytauxzoon protozoa in its digestive system. Here, the organism replicates and its offspring, called sporozoites, are released in the tick's saliva. When it bites its next victim (a domestic cat) is when transmission occurs.
The disease ensues 1-2 weeks after exposure to the tick bite and initially the symptoms can be vague and hard to pinpoint.
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS
• Sudden lethargy
• Anorexia - little or no appetite
• Pale or icteric (jaundiced) mucous membranes, eyes, gums, skin
• Breathing trouble
• Enlarged lymph nodes
• Reluctance to move
• Resistant to being touched
• Seizures or other neurological signs
Get your cat veterinary care immediately if you suspect Bobcat Fever. It IS an emergency and every minute counts.
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
Early diagnosis and immediate aggressive treatment give the best chances of survival. However, even with the best of care many cats still succumb to this disease.
A blood test will give your vet the information needed to make a proper diagnosis. Current treatment protocols involve Azithromycin (antibiotic), Atovaquone (anti-malarial, anti-parasite), supportive care, which may include intravenous fluids and nutritional support.
In recent years, research and awareness have brought the survival rates up from 25% to 60%. It is important to remember, without treatment mortality rates exceed 90%.