Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Do Cats Get Lyme Disease

Must read

Recovery Of Lyme Disease In Cats

Preventing Lyme Disease in Cats – Ask a Vet with Dr. Jyl

Recovery will depend on how long the cat has had Lyme disease and whether or not it has caused tissue damage. However, since there are so few cases of Lyme disease in cats, there is little information available on the treatment methods and recovery prognoses of tissue that has been irreversibly damaged by Lyme disease.

While there is a vaccine for dogs that will help prevent Lyme disease, there is no preventative vaccine for cats, so youll want to ensure you take necessary preventative measures at home. Always brush your cat carefully after it goes outside, checking their coat carefully for ticks. If you do see a tick, always wear gloves during removal. Never touch the tick with your bare hands, and only remove it using a pair of tweezers. Ticks are notoriously difficult to kill, so ensure that you dispose of them in isopropyl alcohol.

Consult your vet regarding which tick and flea medications are safe to administer to your cat. The vet may prescribe a round of antibiotics for use at home. Your vet may also schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure that the disease has been fully eradicated.

Symptoms Similar To Lyme Disease

Doxycycline can help joint pain and inflammation from other causes. This medication has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. In cats, doxycycline can cause damage to the esophagus and has to be given orally in a liquid form, followed by a syringe of water. Many cats don’t cooperate well for this. Treatment with doxycycline in cats has to be carefully considered by your veterinarian.

What Is A Tick

Ticks are small organisms that feed on the carrier. They belong to the arachnid class and have many similar characteristics to spiders and mites. The tick, from the beginning of its life, undergoes 4 cycles: first, there is an egg, then a larva, a nymph, and finally an adult. It is usually at the last stage that a tick attaches to a living organism, such as a human, dog, cat, deer, mouse, and others.

Read Also: Do Lyme Disease Symptoms Come And Go

Signs Of Lyme Disease In Cats

The same organism that causes Lyme disease in dogs, Borrelia burgdorferi, is also responsible for feline Lyme disease. The ticks which bite the cat may become infected with this bacteria after feeding upon rodents, mice etc. The main species of ticks responsible for causing Lyme disease in cats are Deer ticks. Cats are also likelier to spend time outdoors in grassy areas where such ticks typically dwell. The common symptoms and signs of Lyme disease in cats are:

  • Lethargy
  • Pain in joints and stiffness in back- your cat might protest upon being picked up.
  • Fever

If My Dog Or Cat Brings Deer Ticks Into My Home Do Those Ticks Present A Threat To The Rest Of My Family

When Life Gives Your Cat Lyme Disease

You are not at risk of getting Lyme disease directly from your pet. But if a tick is brushed off your pet before it is firmly attached, and a member of your family has direct contact with the tick, it may then attach itself to a human host. Ticks do not fly or jump from one host to another.

Ticks that are firmly attached to your pet will ingest blood until they become fully engorged and then will drop off and go into an inactive period as they molt into the next stage of their lifecycle.

Recommended Reading: How Long Do Lyme Disease Symptoms Last

What Should I Do If I Find A Tick On My Cat

Use fine tipped tweezers or disposable gloves to handle the tick.If you must use your fingers, shield them with a tissue or paper towel.

“Infectious agents may be contracted through mucous membranes or breaks in the skin simply by handling infected ticks.”

Infectious agents may be contracted through mucous membranes or breaks in the skin simply by handling infected ticks. This is especially important for people who de-tick pets because ticks infesting dogs and other domestic animals can carry multiple diseases capable of infecting humans.

Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. This reduces the possibility of the head detaching from the body upon removal.

Pull the tick out straight out with steady, even pressure. Continue applying steady pressure even if the tick does not release immediately. It may take a minute or two of constant, slow pulling to cause the tick to release. There are also tools available called Tick Twister® or Tick Key® which can be useful. However, take care to use them cautiously as twisting or jerking the tick may cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin, increasing the chances of infection.

“Home remedies, such as applying petroleum jelly, will cause the tick to salivate and can actually increase the chance of your pet getting a disease.”

Contributors: Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM Ernest Ward, DVM

How To Remove A Tick

Tick bites can carry diseases, so it’s important to remove them straight away. When removing a tick, make sure not you don’t squeeze the tick’s body or leave the head in. If you squeeze its body or leave the head in, this can push blood back into your pet, which will increase the chance of them getting a disease.

Also Check: Can You Get Disability For Lyme Disease

Theyre Less Vulnerable To Infection Than We Are But It Is Still Important To Take Precautions Against Lyme Disease

Anyone who lives where ticks are found is familiar with the dangers of Lyme disease to humans. But we dont hear as much about it in connection with cats. The fact is, though you may wonder and worry about your cat contracting Lyme disease, it appears felines are less vulnerable to the infection than we are.

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is found in infected blacklegged deer ticks in both the US and Canada. In the US alone, the number of human Lyme disease cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is around 30,000 each year.

In humans, if the infection is not caught early enough and treated with antibiotics, the disease can become debilitating. But Lyme disease doesnt manifest so severely in cats, says veterinarian Dr. Meryl Littman, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia.

Cats dont usually get sick with Lyme disease even when they are exposed to the organism, she says.

Lyme Disease On Cats Or Dogs

Lyme Disease in Pets

The tick feeds on the blood of its prey, embedding its head in the hosts skin and sticking its stinging apparatus into it. The tick can prey on its victim for up to 15 days, or even more. The tick usually looks for a soft and warm place on the skin of his victim. Due to the interference of the tick in the blood of the host, it is possible that we or our pets will become infected with a tick-borne disease and its co-infections. The longer the tick is attached to the skin, the greater the chance of infection. That is why it is so important to check yourself, your children, and animals. A single tick can change its host even several times, which means that zoonoses from deer or wild boars can spread to other organisms.

If you find a tick at home or on your pet dont panic. This does not always mean infection with Lyme disease. However, it is very important to remove ticks as soon as possible, because the longer they feed on a given host, the greater the chance of infection. Of course, not every tick transmits Lyme disease. When you find a tick, its a good idea to put it in for testing in the laboratory that tests the ticks.

w:User:Borislav Dopudja / CC BY-SA

Remember to pull the tick completely. If it happens that the ticks head stays inside, then most likely all bacteria from its body will land in the host. Below is a checklist of what to do when you find a tick in your animal:

Safe Tick RemovalWhat youll need: gloves, tweezers or tick remover.

Read Also: Lyme Vaccine For Dogs How Often

How Do I Protect My Cat From Lyme Disease

Your cat is more at risk if you live in a tick-prone area. If this is the case, make an extra effort to prevent or lessen tick exposure.

There is no vaccine to protect against tick-borne diseases in cats. You can use a safe insect repellent when you take your cat outdoors. Cats can be sensitive to insecticides, so you should seek advice from your veterinarian before using anything on your cat.

Your veterinarian might also be able to guide you to other preventative measures, like collars and spot-on treatments.

After spending time outside with your cat, brush and examine their fur for ticks. If you do find a tick, remove it immediately with tweezers. Grab the tick as close to where its attached to the skin as possible dont just pinch the head.

As you try to keep your cat safe from Lyme disease, keep in mind that ticks can also transmit diseases to humans. Wear gloves when searching for and removing ticks, dont let them touch your bare skin, and place the tick in a jar of alcohol before washing your hands.

Lyme Is A Threat All Year Long

Most of us believe that ticks are only active in the summer and spring months however, this isnt the case. In fact, ticks and Lyme are a problem all year long.

The fact is that if the temperature, even in winter, rises to about 40 F , then ticks become active and start to look for their next meal. Thats not a great thought, but its a fact that as a pet parent we need to accept.

Lyme and other tick borne illnesses are not just a seasonal issue. Your fur baby needs to be checked for ticks and treated for ticks all year round.

Don’t Miss: When Do Puppies Get Lyme Vaccine

Is Lyme Disease Curable

Although most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with a 2- to 4-week course of oral antibiotics, patients can sometimes have symptoms of pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that last for more than 6 months after they finish treatment. This condition is called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome .

What Is Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease in Cats: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that affects a variety of species and is commonly seen in humans and dogs. It has been shown that cats can become infected with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria , but many cats do not show signs of the disease. Nevertheless, it is a diagnosis to consider when cats have symptoms compatible with Lyme disease, especially in areas where Lyme disease is common, such as New England, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, and even Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Cats and dogs can become infected with Borrelia burgdorferi without ever developing symptoms of Lyme disease. Where Lyme disease is common, cats may test positive for exposure to the bacteria despite not showing any signs of the disease.

Read Also: How To Use Essential Oils To Treat Lyme Disease

What Is Babesiosis And Does It Affect Cats

Babesiosis is extremely rare in the UK and the tick that spreads it is so far only found in southern England and on the continent. The first cases of dogs being treated for the disease, caused by the bacterium Babesia, were reported in March 2016.

Recent confirmed cases of babesiosis in Essex have been caused by the Babesia canis strain. This is not thought to affect cats or other animals and is not a risk to humans.

Page last updated 23/02/2022

Sign up to our newsletter

The best way to stay up to date with what’s going on at Blue Cross is to join our mailing list.

How Did My Cat Get Ticks

Ticks wait for host animals on the tips of grasses and shrubs. When the plant is brushed by a moving animal or person, they quickly let go of the vegetation and climb onto the host. This is a process known as questing. Ticks can only crawl they cannot fly or jump. Some species of ticks will crawl several feet toward a host. Some tick species can be active on winter days when the ground temperatures are about 32°F .

You May Like: Lyme Disease Symptoms In Humans Pictures

What Are Cat Ticks

Cat ticks are spider-like, egg-shaped, blood-sucking creepy crawlies. They have eight legs and vary in size from about 1mm to 1cm long. Adult ticks look a bit like small spiders.

Ticks are common in woodland, grassland and heath areas, but can also be found in your garden if you live in an area with lots of wildlife. Your cat is most likely to come across them if you live near areas with lots of deer or sheep, or in areas where there are wildlife like hedgehogs or rabbits.

You are most likely to come across ticks between spring and autumn, but they are active throughout the year.

Ticks dont fly or jump, but climb or drop on to your cats coat when you brush past the area they are sitting in.

Reports Of Lyme Disease In Cats


Some people think they have seen cats with Lyme disease. However, the Borrelia bacteria is tough to grow, so it is hard to prove an infection. Some cats with fevers have been treated with doxycycline, the antibiotic most commonly used to treat Lyme disease. In many cases, these cats recover from their illness. However, cats often have other bacterial infections that respond well to this antibiotic. Alternatively, viral infections usually get better once they have run their course, making it seem like the antibiotics worked well.

Don’t Miss: Can Urgent Care Test For Lyme Disease

Ticks On Dogs And Cats Prevention

When it comes to our pets, prevention through specialized collars or anti-tick agents is at the top of the list. It is also important to check our dog or cat thoroughly after each walk. Did you know that animals are just as susceptible to Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, as are humans? Lyme disease can be found in a wide range of animals, e.g. dogs, cats, cows, horses, and roe deer. Any animal that goes outside can come into contact with a tick.If your animals often visit places with grass, bushes, and forest areas, then the risk of catching a tick and contracting Lyme disease is greater. The above-mentioned areas are ideal places for ticks.

There are many products on the market that help eliminate ticks, fleas, and other parasites. Such products include acaricides or dog collars. A Lyme vaccine is also available, but due to the controversial nature of the disease, it probably does not cover all tick-borne diseases and their co-infections. It is important to find the right tick repellent for your pet that he will respond well to. Also, do not mix chemicals, as this may have a negative effect on the health of your dog or cat. Talk to your veterinarian about tick prevention to find out which products best suit your pet.

Treatment Of Lyme Disease

At least one long course of antibiotic will be necessary to knock out an infection by the causative bacterium of Lyme disease. Blood tests for the disease are unreliable as false negatives are very common, so it is better to be safe than sorry and so most vets will give at least two courses. If it is caught early enough and no systemic damage has been done, the cat will make a full recovery but the climb back to health is a long one and the cat will be very susceptible to other diseases meanwhile, so it will have to be very carefully monitored throughout.

Read Also: When To Treat Lyme Disease

Symptoms Of Feline Lyme Disease

The ticks are characteristic to bushy and mountainous areas. Felinesliving in such areas are more exposed to the lyme disease, however ifyou take your pet out on a trip, you should check his fur and skin forticks.

After the cat is infected, he may display symptoms such as:

  • Joint inflammation or arthritis
  • Lack of appetite
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes

The symptoms in cats may be subtle, however, in some cases, the cat may experience kidney disease caused by bacteria.

Lyme Disease In Cats Faqs

When life gives your cat Lyme Disease

Can cats survive Lyme disease?

Yes, the few cats who show signs of Lyme disease typically recover.

How long does it take for a cat to get Lyme disease?

Cats may show signs of illness two to five months after being infected with Lyme disease from a tick.

Is Lyme disease contagious from cats to humans?

Cats cannot transmit Lyme disease directly to humans. However, unattached, infected ticks can be brought into the home by dogs and cats. These ticks may bite and transmit Lyme disease to humans, so tick prevention is crucial for all animals.

Also Check: How To Know If I Have Lyme Disease

Can Cats Get Lyme Disease From A Tick

Whenever we think about Lyme disease and the horrible threats it poses to human health, we often forget an important question: can pets get Lyme disease from a tick? Many of our pets seem like pretty tough animals considering what they are willing to eat without a second thought, but pet owners do need to make important safety considerations for their animals. After all, pet dogs and cats are basically our furry children! Lyme disease, while typically discussed in a human context, does threaten other animal species.

What Can I Do To Prevent My Cat From Getting Ticks

There are many tick preventatives available commercially. They range from over the counter products such as powders and collars that have limited effectiveness, to stronger products that are only available through your veterinarian. Some products, especially powders, require frequent applications, while others require minimal effort on the part of the cat owner. One of the most convenient and effective products is a flea and tick preventive called Bravecto® that is simply applied topically, to the skin on back of the neck where it is absorbed.

It is important to NEVER use flea and tick products meant for your dog on your cat as they can be toxic, causing your cat to have seizures. Your veterinarian will make specific recommendations to keep your cat parasite free.

Recommended Reading: Lyme Disease Ab Quant Igm

More articles

Popular Articles