As a caring and responsible cat owner, you will certainly invest a great deal of time and energy into making sure that your feline furbaby lives the longest, healthiest and happiest life possible. In addition to keeping her well fed and physically and mentally stimulated, you will also be committed to ensuring that she receives the appropriate preventive treatments to keep her safe from the many infectious diseases and illnesses that pose a threat to her health and wellbeing.
Parasitic infections are just one of the health problems facing our feline friends, and while there are various types of parasite that can affect our pets, ticks are certainly one of the most prevalent. They are also increasing in numbers thanks to the simplicity of international movement and effects of global warming.
What are ticks?
Ticks are small, wingless parasites that tend to live in wooded, grassy areas. When you pet passes by, the tick hitches a ride and settles onto her skin where it bites in and starts consuming her blood in order to survive. However, don’t let their size fool you. While some ticks are fairly innocent in nature and may only slightly irritate your skin, others carry serious and even potentially deadly diseases.
Since ticks carry blood, if they bite an infected animal they take some of the infectious organisms into their body which they then transmit on to their next host. Although dogs make natural hosts for ticks, cats are often just as likely to be affected.
What are tick-borne diseases and which ones might affect my cat?
A tick-borne disease is referred to as an infectious disease that is passed between animals through the bite of a tick. There are a range of different tick-borne diseases that can affect animals, with some also potentially affecting the humans living in your household. Some of the most common include:
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Symptoms of tick-borne diseases in cats
One of the biggest challenges for any pet owner is identifying that their animal is unwell. Your kitty is reliant on you identifying that she is unwell and requires medical attention from the behaviors that she chooses to show you. However, as cats are natural predators they tend to try and hide their vulnerability, making diagnosing a feline with a tick-borne or other illness much harder.
The exact behaviors that your cat chooses to show will depend on her age and health. However, there are a set of ‘core’ traits that tend to suggest that a pet is unwell. This includes loss of appetite, lethargy, weakness, weight loss and aching limbs and muscle.
In addition to these quite ‘generic’ symptoms, your cat may also share some other more unusual behaviors or with you. These will be dependent on the exact type of infectious disease that she is fighting but could include much more serious problems such as swollen, painful joints and lymph nodes, unusual bleeding, neurological changes and even seizures/collapse.
Treating tick-borne diseases in cats
If you believe that your cat may be harboring a tick-borne disease, you should arrange for her to be assess by our veterinarian as soon as possible. Earlier diagnosis will enable her to start treatment promptly, preventing symptoms from worsening and potentially stopping irreversible damage to her body.
In most instances, treatment takes the form of a reasonably long course of antibiotic medication, which is also sometimes combined with immediate, more serious therapies such as fluids delivered intravenously or blood transfusions.
In the majority of cases, felines go on to make a complete recovery from their tick-borne disease. However, prevention is always better than cure so we strongly advocate that you contact our vets in Kerrville, TX and make an appointment with your veterinarian at Hoegemeyer Animal Clinic to discuss the right preventive treatment for your furry friend.