Bobcat fever can kill domestic cats that are let out of the house in certain states of the United States.
It is caused by a parasite (Cytauxzoon felis) that lives in the blood and which is transmitted from the American bobcat to the domestic cat by the tick.
A tick is another parasite that attaches itself onto the bodies of animals including cats and which gorges on the blood of the animal.
The tick eventually drops off the wild bobcat and is the picked up the domestic cat if and when it ventures outside.
Bobcat fever is present in these states (this may not be a complete list):
A news item as at June 8th 2011 reports on an outbreak at Crittenden County, Kentucky.
The say you have to keep your cats in to avoid bobcat fever. The symptoms occur within six days and include the usual suspects:
- anorexia (lack of appetite)
- fever (cat crys)
- loss of liver function
- bleeding of the spleen
There is apparently a 95% fatality rate and death can be very rapid. Faith Hughes has successfully treated the disease. She works at the VCA Wakulla Animal Hospital.
Updating page: Bobcat fever cytauxzoonis.