Deadly tick borne illnesses in cats is on the rise nationally

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Deadly tick borne illnesses in cats is on the rise nationally, though it has not hit the LC Valley. Local veterinarians say that with this upcoming season, you can never be too careful.

Alan Burkett can't believe his cat is gone, killed by a tick carrying disease.

"If you look around now you won't find one cat," said Burkett, Summit Resident. "They're all dead. This thing has wiped them all out."

That thing is Bobcat Tick Fever, which comes from Bobcats, and is carried by ticks to house cats.

Veterinarians who examine blood samples in this Tulsa lab say cases of the Bobcat Tick Fever are high this year.

"To see that many this early on its going to be a bad year we're going to see a lot I think," said Connie Wright, Veterinarian.

Veterinarian Connie Wight says her lab diagnosed 16 cases this year, with the first in March. That's two months before tick season normally starts. Wright says half of her tick cases are coming from Muskogee County.

"It's a very rapidly fatal disease, so the faster you can diagnose it the better chance you have at treating it," said Wright.

Veterinarian Phil McKinney knows of several cases in Muskogee...

"We have had approximately 6-8 cases this summer," said Dr. Phil McKinney, Veterinarian. "We've only had two survive."

He says cats will come in looking weak and dehydrated. Another sign of Bobcat Tick Fever is the cat shows signs of jaundice.

Veterinarians recommend that every time your cat does go outside you should check it for ticks every day.

"If somebody would've let me know maybe ahead of time I might could've saved my cat," said Burkett. "I don't know what I might have done I might have took it inside and locked it up for a couple of weeks, hoping it might pass."

Local veterinarian clinics say one of the reasons why they don't see a tick problem here is because pet owners are vigilant in taking them off their animals.

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