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Bobcat Fever Strikes

Bobcat Fever Strikes

MCLOUD, Okla. - A parasitic blood disease is causing problems for felines. It's called "Bobcat Fever," and it's killing domestic house cats in Oklahoma.

But it doesn't come from a bobcat bite, it's actually spread through ticks.

"I have been a cat person till I got him, now I've become attached," said McLoud resident Barbara Cheek about her 10-month-old cat Buddy. "We had got him to be a buddy cat for our dog, and they just loved each other and played together. He was a good, sweet cat," said Cheek.

Sadly, over the Memorial Day weekend, things for Buddy got bad.

"Saturday, he was just fine, he was playing, chasing birds and butterflies and he caught him a lizard," Cheek told News 4.

But by Saturday night, Cheek noticed a change.

"He threw up and I just thought it's just that lizard he got a hold of," she said.

She says by the time she took him to the vet on Tuesday, he was critically ill.

Doctors at the Deer Creek Vet Clinic in Harrah diagnosed Buddy with a parasitic blood disease.

"Bobcat Fever is a tick-borne disease of the cat that's transmitted to them via the Lone Star Tick," said Dr. Brent Link, DVM.

The tick bites a bobcat, and then bites a cat, transmitting the small parasites in their saliva.

"It seems very prevalent in our area and unfortunately, quite aggressive, most cats that get it in this area don`t seem to survive it despite the best treatment efforts," said Dr Link.

Buddy did not survive and when Barbara posted about it on social media, she was surprised to hear how many of her friends had lost cats to Bobcat Fever.

Dr. Link says he sees several cases a month in the summer. He recommends keeping cats indoors to prevent them from getting it.

"For cats, the best thing to do is to keep them inside. That`s the only place we can eliminate ticks as a problem," said Dr. Link.

Initial symptoms include vomiting, fever and dehydration.

See a vet immediately if you encounter this with your cat.

Story re-posted from Oklahoma News 4. Written by BRENT SKARKY

Cats With Bobcat Fever

Cats With Bobcat Fever

Veterinarians are warning cat owners about a deadly blood parasite called Bobcat Fever affecting cats. The disease is called by a tick bite. 

"It is a disease that is passed from the tick when passed from cat to cat," Phil Chitwood, veterinarian at Poteau Valley Veterinarian Hospital said. "It`s transmitted by the tick feeding on the bobcat and then it feeds on the domestic cat. It`s usually fatal in the domestic cat."

Bobcats live in diverse habitats including forests, swamps, deserts and even suburban areas. 

Bobcat Fever has been found in the following states:

  • Texas
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Virginia
  • Kansas
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Missouri
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Georgia
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Tennessee

Symptoms of Bobcat Fever include a high temperature, jaundice, weak muscles and depression. Cats infected can be treated with anti-parasitic drugs; but unfortunately, there is not much else that can be done to treat the cats. Even with aggressive treatments, most cats die. 

Domestic cats will need to be kept away from wildlife for protection and health reasons. Fence in cats; and keep a close eye on the types of animals that are around them. 

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