Deadly cat disease on the rise in Southern Illinois - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Deadly cat disease on the rise in Southern Illinois

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WSIL-- It's called Cytoxzoonosis or "bobcat fever."

It's something Elliott Zieman has spent four years researching at SIU.

The disease is spread by ticks that domestic cats pick up when they venture outside into wooded areas or even in residential areas.

And while the disease doesn't have a significant impact on bobcats, it can be deadly for your furry friend.

"It can be very brief. A cat can die within 7 to 8 days from a tick bite," said Zieman.

Bobcat Fever isn't something that's easily detectible early on either, especially when your cats go outside. "They're going out. You might not see them. During that time they could've been bit by a tick and they could actually be sick and you don't know they're sick," he said.

Cat's that have been infected with the disease will often stop eating, run a fever, and be very tired.

If your cat presents these symptoms, you should seek immediate attention. "Twelve hours can make the difference of your cat living and dying," said Zieman.

Local veterinarians have already seen several cases this year and say prevention is key. Tina Mercille with Lake Side Veterinary Hospital says people should treat their cat for ticks, keep them indoors and check them regularly.

The disease causes clotting in the vascular system of the cat, quickly turning dangerous but it is treatable if it is caught early enough.

Zieman says the disease cannot be transmitted to humans.

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