What Is Feline Babesiosis? Know about the vector-borne disease and how to treat it.

BY | December 07 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
What Is Feline Babesiosis? Photo by Krysten Merriman: https://www.pexels.com/photo/short-coated-gray-cat-20787/

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Feline babesiosis is a vector-borne disease caused by the Babesia Felis parasite. The infection causes anemia, lethargy, fever, and fatigue in affected cats.

Feline Babesiosis is a vector-borne disease caused by the Babesia Felis parasite. The most common vector for B. felis is the brown dog tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus, although other species of tick can also transmit this disease. Feline babesiosis is not common in North America, although it has been reported in some areas in the southern states.

Dogs and cats are infected by tick bites, as are humans who have been bitten by a pet or animal that has been infected with Babesia parasites. Cats with Babesia felis may have anemia and lethargy, but they often appear normal. They may have a fever, be dehydrated, and have other signs of illness as well.

Symptoms Of Babesiosis

The symptoms of Feline Babesiosis are fever, dehydration, weakness, and jaundice (yellowing of your cat's skin or eyes). In more severe cases, there may be vomiting or diarrhea as well. The treatment for feline babesiosis includes antibiotics for cats and dogs that are specific for this condition. Topical Fluralaner is said to have a 12-week response to fleas and tick problems and can be a good treatment option for Babesia parasites as well. 

The Coccidia Parasite

The coccidia parasite (Isospora spp.) has also been found to be transmitted by Rhipicephalus ticks. Coccidia is a protozoan parasite that can infect cats and dogs. It's transmitted by the brown dog tick, which bites cats and dogs. The coccidia parasite causes diarrhea, weight loss, dehydration, and death in infected animals. However, this parasite does not cause feline illness when transmitted by ticks. Therefore, getting pet medications or Seresto collars prescribed for your pets to fight ticks and fleas is important. 

Diagnosing Babesia Infection In Cats

A blood smear differential count is a test that can be performed by your veterinarian or a veterinary technician with specific expertise in parasitology and feline diseases. This test determines the type and number of white blood cells present in a sample of your cat's blood. The results will help your vet determine whether or not the infection has spread to other organs, such as the liver or spleen. 

Kittens With Babesia Infection

Kittens with Babesia infection may have a fever, dehydration, weakness, and jaundice resulting from severe anemia caused by hemolysis. Hemolysis is the breakdown of red blood cells, causing their contents to be released into the bloodstream. This can lead to severe anemia and even death.

Kittens are more susceptible to infection than adult cats but can recover completely after treatment. Therefore, you should tell your veterinarian if you think your kitten has feline babesiosis and get flea and tick medicine like Credelio for dogs and cats or Advantix

No Vaccine Is Available To Prevent Babesia Infection In Cats

Prevention of tick bites through strict flea control methods and avoidance of areas where ticks are abundant is critical to protecting cats against this disease. Preventing tick bites and reducing the risk of tick-borne disease in cats is essential if your cat spends time outside.

Tick control will also help prevent other diseases due to arthropod vectors, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Regarding fleas, some cats are more prone to them than others because of their breed or coat type.

If your cat has a long hair coat that needs frequent grooming (like a Persian), he may be more likely at risk for an infestation of ticks and fleas on his fur than other breeds with short coats, like the Siamese or Burmese. The skin infection is caused due to the cat’s inability to groom himself effectively without human help. 

Conclusion

The best way to protect your cat against this disease is by keeping it indoors and avoiding areas where ticks breed. If you live in an area where these ticks are common or if you travel with your cat, talk to a veterinarian or veterinary technician about ways to prevent tick bites.

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