Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cytauxzoonosis - Kitteh Disease

My sister and brother-in-law's cat Gus makes his modeling debut.
A recent increase in cat illness has feline owners in Missouri concerned. Cytauxzoonosis (A.K.A. Bobcat Fever) has seen a localized increase in the Laclede County region of Missouri (Northeast of Springfield, MO).

Cytauxzoonosis is a typically fatal tickborne disease caused by the protozoan Cytauxzoon felis that infects the red blood cells (RBCs) of domesticated cats. It is passed to the feline by biting ticks, and while domestic cats often succumb to the disease, Bobcats usually recover from the ailment.

If you have questions, use the comments section below!

Cytauxzoonosis was first reported in the USA in 1976 in Missouri and has thought to have been contained to the southern US. However, cases have occurred in the mid-Atlantic region as far north as Pennsylvania, and North Dakota in the Midwest, in bobcats.

The most common seasons for the disease to be seen are spring and summer, coinciding with high exposure to tick-bites. Also, obviously, out-door cats are more at risk than cats that are primarily left indoors.

The disease in cats is typically sudden onset, with lethargy and lack of appetite within five to twenty days following the tick bite. Cats will develop a high fever as well. Clinical findings seem to suggest a massive system failure (as you would expect from infected RBCs) with dehydration, enlarged liver and spleen, respiratory distress, tachycardia or bradycardia, etc.

C. felis is passed by the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) which has become a scourge, not only to felines, but also to humans. The lone star tick resides primarily in the US southeast, but has been discovered as far north as Maine and as far south as Central and South America.  

Lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum)
Lone star ticks can be a vector of a variety of human disease including; monocytotropic ehrlichiosis, granulocytic ehrlichiosis, tularemia, southern tick-associated rash illness, heartland disease, and a really strange meat allergy.

Make sure if you let your animals out, even just in your back yard during the summer, check them for ticks before they come back in the house! Fight the Bite!

I encourage everyone to use the comments section below!
  • Lance D. Presser has a PhD in microbiology and immunology and is a public health laboratorian.
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