My Cat Had Lyme Disease
Updated: May 2018 May is Lyme Awareness Month
This is timely guest post from cat blogger, Ellen Pilch at 15andmeowing on a subject most cat owners aren’t concerned about but should be about Lyme disease.
A few years ago, I asked our vet about Lyme disease since we live in a wooded area rampant with deer and varieties of ticks. No matter how careful, I’d find a couple ticks on me every year and routinely test for Lyme at my annual check-up. Naturally concerned about my cats and Lyme, my vet scoffed and said it’s extremely rare and not to worry. The truth is cats can contract Lyme disease making it important to add effective flea and tick protection for indoor/outdoor cats or if you have a dog. Ticks are happy to hitchhike home on a dog or human to your indoor only cat.
April is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month but perhaps it needs to be changed to include cats.
Yes, you read the title correctly. My Cat, Spooky was diagnosed with Lyme disease last year. It is very rare for a cat to contract Lyme disease even in a state like mine. Ninety-six percent of all Lyme disease cases came from 14 states, my state of Massachusetts is one of them. Lymediseasestats
Spooky was a neighbor’s cat that visited us and another neighbor, daily for years. When his owner announced they were moving, we all feared he would attempt to get back to this area so it was agreed that the other neighbor would keep him. Spooky remained an indoor/outdoor cat and treated with Frontline for fleas and ticks. Spooky used to like to hide in tall grass to hunt for mice. When he would visit us, I was constantly pulling ticks off of him.
In the fall of 2013, Spooky decided to move in with us. By doing that, he became an indoor-only cat. We noticed how stiff he moved and figured he had arthritis because he was about 13 years old at that time. I tried various treats and supplements with glucosamine for him, but they all upset his stomach.
In June of 2015, I brought him in for a wellness exam and a senior blood panel. At that point, it was discovered he had high blood pressure and thyroid disease. I started doing some research and saw that the high blood pressure could be from Lyme disease so I asked about that. A vet said it was not possible for him to have Lyme disease. Fortunately, I don’t always accept an answer as the truth. I kept researching and saw that a cat could get Lyme disease, even though it is rare.
I was at the vet hospital again, I spend a lot of time there with 14 cats, so I asked a different vet that I had more confidence in. She said it was possible, but the test was expensive. The test was Idexx 4DX for $74.15, I didn’t think it was that expensive to get a definite answer. If I had never seen a tick on him or maybe just one, I wouldn’t have persisted, but this poor cat was covered in them all the time. My husband had also had lyme disease three times and years ago, our dog had had it as well. The test showed that Spooky did have Lyme, so the vet prescribed the antibiotic, Amoxicillin for three weeks. My husband and I noticed a remarkable improvement in his walking. He still has arthritis, but he definitely moves much better than before.
If you do allow your cat outdoors, I highly recommend using a topical to keep ticks away. It is also good to visually check your pet for ticks too. And if you do suspect Lyme disease, insist on testing.
SNAP 4Dx Plus Test by Idexx
is the only test that allows you to efficiently test for heartworm disease and tick-transmitted pathogens, as recommended by the Companion Animal Parasite Council.
Test annually to help prevent the spread of heartworm disease, ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, and anaplasmosis while increasing awareness of these vector-transmitted infections.SNAP tests provide reference laboratory ELISA technology for superior diagnostic sensitivity and specificity at the point of care.