|CYTAUXZOONOSIS or “Cyto”
URGENT WARNING FOR CAT OWNERS
"Cytauxzoonosis is a parasite of the bloodstream that normally infects bobcats in the wild. The disease is spread through a tick that bits an infected bobcat then infects another animal by a bite. The domestic cat is an accidental host, or it is not the natural host, but can be infected with very serious and frequently fatal consequences.
In the Unites States, it appears that bobcats are the usual hosts for CYTAUXZOONOSIS. In these animals, it appears that the disease exists in the bobcats, but does not produce sickness or death. However, when domestic cats become infected, the disease has a rapidly fatal course. Observed signs have included an early loss of appetite, labored breathing, lethargy, dehydration, depression, pale or yellow mucous membranes, and a high fever. Cats usually succumb to the disease within a week after signs appear.
At this writing, the disease is rare in most of the U.S.; it has been reported most heavily in the southern Unites States. Middle Tennessee seems to be the most heavily affected single region.
There is no successful treatment. A medication does exist that is approved for use in this disease. The drug has many severe side effects and is very expensive. Most frequently, when domestic cats are presented to their veterinarian, the disease progress is beyond the help of the medication and the medication presents grave risks to the pet if administered.
Prevention is the only defense for pet cats. Keep you pet cat inside and away from wooded or brushy areas. Use the flea and tick control product Frontline. Frontline is the only product approved for cats that effectively controls ticks. Certainly, these measures are not 100%, but can help protect your loved pet from this fatal disease.