Tick diseases are very well known in the human world, and unfortunately are becoming an even more common threat in our daily lives. While we know that Lyme disease can infect people, it also can infect dogs. While we know the importance of preventing tick-borne disease in our canine friends, more and more research is indicating that we also should be doing our best to prevent ticks from attacking our feline friends as well!
There have been well over 800 species of ticks that have been identified worldwide; however, only a dozen are suspected to contribute to feline diseases. Fortunately for cats, they are highly resistant to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease and rarely show any clinical signs of infection. That being said, Lyme disease unfortunately is not the only disease that ticks carry. Ticks also carry (among others) hemobartonellosis, cytauxzoonosis, and tularemia.
Hemobartonellosis is caused by a bacterial parasite that invades a cat’s red blood cells and leads to a severe, life-threatening anemia. Clinical signs of anemia are pale gums, lethargy, inappetence and an increased respiratory rate. Cytauxzoonosis results from infection with a parasite that causes severe anemia, fever, lethargy, and breathing difficulties. Unfortunately, this disease is usually fatal. While tularemia is a relatively uncommon infection, it results in deadly fever, lymph node enlargement and abscess formation.
The more we learn about tick diseases in cats, the more important it becomes to keep our feline friends on a regular tick preventative to decrease their likelihood of coming into contact with a source of one of these diseases. Fortunately for the cat population, there have been multiple advances in the development of products to help keep them safe! Many owners are aware of Bravecto, the oral 3-month flea and tick preventative for dogs. They now make a topical 3-month flea and tick preventative for cats! Bravecto for cats is a one-spot topical application at the base of the skull that continues to work for 12 weeks to prevent infestation with fleas and ticks. Give us a call today to discuss your cat’s flea and tick needs!