What Do You Need To Know About Cytauxzoonosis: The Bobcat Fever In Pets And how can you help your cat?

BY | December 07 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
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Cytauxzoonosis is a tick-borne infectious disease in cats caused by a protozoan parasite called cytauxzoon felis. It can lead to death if untreated within 48 hours of infection onset.

Cytauxzoonosis is a tick-borne infectious disease caused by a protozoan parasite called Cytauxzoon Felis. The parasite can be transmitted by ticks and other means, such as water and food, so it's essential to take precautions to prevent transmission if your pet is at risk of infection. Bobcats and cougars can also carry the parasite, but it's rarely reported in them. Domestic cats are the most common hosts for this disease. Other hosts include dogs and humans. 

Symptoms

While many of the signs of cytauxzoonosis are similar to other illnesses, they're more likely to occur in younger animals or those with an underlying health condition. The clinical signs of cytauxzoonosis could vary from mild to severe or even fatal outcomes, where 70% of the infected cats may die without proper treatment. Symptoms in these pets include:

? fever; you can use pet meds like Metacam or Meloxicam for cats to reduce the fever.

? difficulty breathing

? coughing up blood or mucus 

The Ticks

Ticks that transmit cytauxzoonosis are tiny and flat; it attaches to the skin with their mouthparts and releases an anticoagulant that prevents blood from clotting while it feeds on your pet's blood.

Ticks are present in most areas of the world where pets can travel. Their numbers tend to increase during warmer months of the year when humidity levels rise, and unfortunately for pet owners everywhere, this means summertime is prime time for tick infestations. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure flea and tick prevention for cats. 

More Active Between Late Spring And Early Summer

The risk of tick exposure to pets is highest during spring and summer. Ticks are more active in the months between March and May. If you live in an area where this disease is endemic, minimizing your cat's exposure to ticks is crucial.

Ticks can attach themselves to your pet's skin for hours before attaching a blood meal, and once they do that, they'll stay there for days or even weeks until the life cycle is complete. The best way to prevent cytauxzoonosis is to keep your cat indoors as much as possible, especially when these insects are most active outdoors.

However, the good news is that a recent study of 2 cats having 14 kittens observed that the infection does not commonly transmit vertically. 

The Disease Is Hard To Diagnose

The disease is hard to diagnose because many symptoms are common to other conditions. For example, a sign of cytauxzoonosis is lethargy and fever, which can also be symptoms of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) or even cancer in cats.

However, the disease can be diagnosed by taking a sample of blood from your cat and testing it for signs of anemia and excess white blood cells. If these tests show that your cat has cytauxzoonosis, you will need to take him or her back to the vet for further treatment and monitoring.

At this time, there is no specific treatment for cytauxzoonosis; however, some people have reported success using flea and tick medicine such as Simparica or Bravecto for cats in their pets with the disease. 

Diagnosis Can Be Made Using Some Tests

Diagnosis can be made using PCR tests, blood smear analysis, and blood workups. PCR is a technique that uses DNA amplification to identify the disease in your pet’s body fluids. Blood smear analysis helps identify the organism by examining a certain number of cells under a microscope. Blood workups are carried out to determine if there is any damage to your pet’s vital organs due to this disease and also whether it has entered its final stage or not. 

Treatment Requires Hospitalization

If you think your pet has cytauxzoonosis, it should be hospitalized. Treatment usually involves hospitalization and multiple medications as well as transfusions because toxoplasmosis causes hemolytic anemia and low platelet count. Treatment with acetazolamide may also be necessary to manage respiratory distress. 

Conclusion

Cytauxzoonosis, also known as bobcat fever, is a life-threatening tick-borne infectious disease in cats that commonly leads to death if not treated early. It's caused by the protozoa parasite called Cytauxzoon Falciparum and can be transmitted by ticks and fleas. When it comes to symptoms of cytauxzoonosis in cats, they're generally similar to many other diseases like fever, lethargy, anemia, thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), and jaundice.

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