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Cytauxzoonosis is a mostly fatal tick-borne disease in domestic cats. It is identified as the blood parasite Cytauxzoon felis.
In Africa, this disease is carried by ungulates, but in North America, it is carried by bobcats, particularly in the South. As of four years ago, the disease was only reported in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and especially Arkansas, but in May 2006 alone, at least six fatal cases were reported in the Tennessee communities of Franklin and Brentwood just at the clinic of Dr. Charles O. Beauchamp. Furthermore, veterinarians in Marion County, Tennessee have found additional cases of Cytauxzoonosis in that locale. Although the pathogen lies dormant in wild cats, when transmitted to domestic cats, it becomes extremely virulent. The pathogen is spread to domestic cats through the American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis), which can be found in heavily wooded areas and fields. Because of the route of infection, it is most likely that outdoor cats develop the disease. The biggest risk of infection occurs in May through September, but even during that time, it is a very rare disease.
Symptoms usually occur within six days of infection. These include depression, lethargy, anorexia, dehydration, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes. Unlike a good deal of other cat diseases, when the cat is in the throes of the fever, it may cry loudly. Due to the anorexia, cats infected with the disease tend to lose liver function within a few days and become jaundiced, losing colour in the gums and nose. Symptoms that may not be apparent to the owner include the haemorrhaging of the spleen, anaemia, heart murmur and leukopaenia.
The vast majority, approximately 95%, of patients succumb to this disease within the time period of one week. Historically, the treatments available for the disease include blood transfusions and intravenous fluids.  Currently, a medicine called imidocarb dipropionate is being used to battle the infection, but it has not so far worked well enough for mass usage and tends to cause pain to the animal when injected.
Although it can be prevented in most cases by use of such medicines as Frontline, there have been cases of cats treated with this medication that have died of Cytauxzoonosis because of the delay between application and absorption into the hair follicle of the feline. In the end, the best way to avoid infection is to disallow access of the outside to domestic felines.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cytauxzoonosis". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|