ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Many cats are dying in Missouri because of a non-bacterial infection called Bobcat Fever.
The infection is caused by Lone Star Ticks, which are very common in Missouri and thrive in moist environments.
University of Missouri Columbia veterinarian Dr. Leah Cohn says Bobcat Fever is transmitted to cats through tick bites.
“When bobcats are infected, they go through a milder form of illness and recover and carry the parasite in their blood indefinitely ,” Cohn says.
Bobcats usually survive, Cohn says, but domestic cats aren’t so lucky. Once bitten by the tick, cats can become ill within ten days to two weeks.
“When the first symptoms show up they progress very quickly and from the time you see the first symptom most cats will have died within five days,” Cohn says.
She says once infected, cats often turn yellow and pale because of anemia.
“This pathogen invades the cat’s own white blood cells, they get really huge and they clog up the vasculatures,” she says.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent Bobcat Fever.