Veterinarians report rise in Bobcat Fever, deadly feline disease

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) -- A deadly disease passed from bobcats to domestic cats through ticks is on the rise.

NewsChannel 5 in Nashville talked to an area veterinarian, Dr. Frankie Locklar of Maury County Animal Hospital in Columbia, about the disease.

"Actually the last three years we've seen an uptick [in Bobcat Fever]," Locklar explained. "Used to, you'd see one or two cases a summer. Now we're actually starting to see in the 20s."

Bobcat Fever is almost always fatal in domestic cats. "It injects those organisms into their blood stream, that organism attaches to the red blood cells and causes them to lyse," Locklar explained.

The disease effects every organ in a cat's body; it causes a lot of pain and swelling.

"I'm telling you, straight up we do supportive IVs, we do pain control, fever control, we put them on the medications, we just haven't been successful in turning that around," Locklar said.

Prevention is key for both indoor and outdoor cats, he says. The best way to keep your pets safe and healthy is to use products which keep ticks away.

"You don't have to use it year round, you need to use it at least during tick season which here is somewhere from February to October," Locklar said.