lyme disease in cats and what you should know about it

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Lyme Disease in Cats and What You Should Know about It

August 17, 2016

Even though lyme disease in cats is something that’s not often found in cats, lyme disease itself is among the world’s most common tick-transmitted diseases.

Lyme is caused by bacteria and it has a dominant clinical feature in felines. The dominant clinical feature is lameness caused by inflammation of the joints and a number of other things.

Aside from inflammation of the joints, lethargy and lack of appetite are among the things that can cause lameness that’s associated with the dominant clinical feature of lyme disease in felines.

There are some symptoms you have to write down and keep in your notes if lyme disease in felines is something you want to gain knowledge on.

The Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Cats

symptoms of lyme disease in cats

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There are a number of things that can be considered the symptoms of lyme disease in cats. However, first of all, you might need to know that numerous cats that have lyme disease don’t show any symptoms. Cats that do show symptoms may suffer from things including recurring lameness of the limbs.

Recurring lameness of the limbs cats that have lyme disease suffer from is caused by inflammation of the joints. Some cats might develop torturing, acute lameness that lasts for just three to four days but actually recurs days or weeks later. The lameness can attack the same leg or different legs.

Lameness that attacks different legs is called ‘shifting-leg lameness’ and it’s a condition which is characterized by lameness that attacks one leg and then another leg. The leg that was affected first may return to normal function before the lameness attacks another leg.

When this condition occurs, one or more joints might be warm and swollen. A pain response might be elicited by simply feeling the joint. This condition is one that actually responds quite well to antibiotic treatment.

Aside from lameness, kidney problems are also among the things which can be considered the symptoms of lyme disease in felines. If it’s left untreated, it can lead to glomerulonephritis.

Glomerulonephritis can cause inflammation and a dysfunction of a part of the kidney called glomeruli. Glomeruli is the part of the kidney that functions as a blood filter.

When the condition worsens, finally, total kidney failure can occur and the cat that experiences it may begin to show sings such as diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, fluid buildup in its abdomen, increased thirst and urination, lack of appetite, and fluid buildup in the tissues including the legs and the parts under the skin.

Aside from the symptoms mentioned earlier, stiff walk that involves an arched back is also among the symptoms of lyme disease in felines. Difficulty breathing is among the symptoms of lyme disease that attacks cats as well.

If your cat is sensitive to touch, you should be worried because sensitivity to touch is among the symptoms of lyme that affects cats as well.

Also among the symptoms of lyme disease in felines are depression, lack of appetite, and fever that accompany inflammation that affects the joints. The symptoms also include nervous system complications. Nervous system complications rarely happen to cats that have lyme disease, though.

Heart abnormalities are also among the symptoms of lyme disease in felines but they’re also things that rarely happen to cats with lyme disease. Heart abnormalities include various conditions including complete heart block.

The next symptoms to note are superficial lymph nodes which are close to the areas of the infecting tick bite becoming swollen. Those are symptoms of lyme disease in felines you have to write down and keep in your notes if you’re worried about your cat’s condition and you are afraid he or she suffers from lyme disease.

The Causes of Lyme Disease in Cats

causes of lyme disease in cats

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Lyme disease in cats can be caused by borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia burgdorferi is the bacteria that are responsible for lyme disease. The bacteria can be transmitted by what are called slow-feeding, hard-shelled deer ticks.

You have to note that infection typically happens after the tick that carries Borrelia has been attached to the cat for eighteen hours at the very least.

The Diagnosis of Lyme Disease in Cats

diagnosis of lyme disease in cats

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Speaking of the diagnosis of lyme disease in felines, there are a number of essential things you must note to find out about it. First of all, note that you’ll need to give a thorough history of your feline friend’s health.

The history must include a background history of symptoms, as well as possible incidents which might have precipitated the condition like, for example, areas in which the cat might have spent time in.

The history that you provide can give your vet clues related to which organs are getting affected secondarily. Also note that a complete blood profile will be conducted as well.

The complete blood profile will include a chemical blood profile, a urinalysis, and a complete blood count. Your vet will use the tests to successfully look for the presence of parasites, fungi, and bacteria in the bloodstream.

In addition to the things mentioned above, fluid from affected joints might be drawn for analysis as well. Note that the condition of the skin which is near the tick-bite areas will be important indicator of your feline friend’s health as well.

By paying attention to the condition, a vet can find out whether the wound is still open or whether there still are parts of the tick’s body left in the cat’s wound.

Your vet might also try finding out about things related to arthritis when trying to diagnose lyme disease in your cat.

Note that there are numerous causes for arthritis and your reliable vet might focus on differentiating arthritis which is initiated by lyme disease which is from other disorders related to inflammatory arthritic like, for example, trauma.

A doctor can also examine your cat’s bones for damage. There are immune-mediated diseases that can be considered as things that can possibly cause the symptoms of lyme disease in felines. An x-ray of a cat’s painful joints can help a doctor examine his or her bones for disorder or damage.

The Treatment for Lyme Disease in Cats

treatment for lyme disease in cats

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The treatment for lyme disease in felines, of course, is something you may have been looking for. When about to treat a cat with lyme disease, you should ask your vet first about what treatment methods you can use.

If the diagnosis done shows a result that indicates that your cat has lyme disease, you might need to consider treating your cat on an outpatient basis.

You should consider treating your cat on an outpatient basis unless your cat’s health condition is actually severe. Note that there are some antibiotics you can choose an antibiotic for a cat with lyme disease from. What’s important is keeping your feline friend dry and warm.

Keeping your feline friend dry and warm isn’t the only thing you need to do, though. Aside from keeping you feline friend dry and warm, you’ll need to control his or her activity until his or her clinical signs have without doubt improved.

Note that the recommended treatment period is four weeks. Thus, it’s important to treat your cat at least for that long.

When it comes to treating a cat with lyme disease, a veterinarian might not recommend dietary changes. In short, you shouldn’t not create dietary changes for your cat when trying to treat his or her lyme disease.

Since a veterinarian knows well just what the best for your cat is, you shouldn’t use any pain medications if they’re not recommended by your reliable veterinarian as well. Just make sure to do your best to hear what your veterinarian says when trying to treat your beloved cat’s lyme disease.

You might need to note this rather scary fact before attempting to treat a cat’s lyme disease. Unfortunately, symptoms don’t always resolve completely in some animals. Long-term joint might still continue even after the bacteria are fully eradicated from a cat’s system.

This fact shouldn’t make you and other cat owners out there lose hope, though, and you should try to treat a cat’s lyme disease believing that the disease is treatable.

Living and Management

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It’s important to pay a close attention to a cat’s progress after he or she is treated. Improvement in acute or sudden inflammation of the joints which is caused by Borrelia has to be seen within a period between three and five days after antibiotic treatment is used.

If no improvement is seen within three to five days, the veterinarian in charge might want to do a different diagnosis.

Preventing Lyme Disease from Attacking Your Cat

preventing lyme disease from attacking your cat

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If you don’t want your beloved feline friend to suffer from lyme disease, you should make effort to prevent the disease from attacking your cat. One of the prevention methods you can try is avoiding allowing your beloved cat to roam in environments which are tick-infested.

Areas that are tick-infested are often where lyme borreliosis can be found. Thus, you definitely have to make sure your cat doesn’t roam in those areas because those areas can be quite dangerous for his or her health.

The next method you can use is grooming your feline friend daily and doing your best to remove ticks by hand to get rid of the ticks that jeopardize your cat’s health. You might also need to use products that your veterinarian recommends.

The products a veterinarian recommends can include collars, a variety of sprays, and spot-on topical products that can help repel and kill ticks.

The aforementioned products have to be used under a vet’s supervision at all costs. Also, they also need to be used according to the directions on their labels. Just use them the right way and under a vet’s supervision since you don’t want to jeopardize your cat’s health by using them nonchalantly and not according to rules.

Another method you can use is mechanical removal of ticks. This method is among the effective method of preventing lyme disease in felines when it’s done right.

If you’re interested in using this method, you should consider grooming your cat daily. If you’re considering grooming your cat daily, you should discuss the methods you will use to groom your cat with your veterinarian.

Discuss appropriate methods of tick removal with your vet before you try to remove ticks on your cat’s body with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian knows what the best methods you can use to remove the ticks on your cats are.

Thus, it’s a wise thing to ask your veterinarian about what methods to resort to when trying to remove ticks on your cat’s body.

Also among the methods you can use is preventing ticks from attaching themselves to your cat’s body. You can prevent ticks from attaching themselves to your feline friend’s body using collars and sprays.

Note that collars and sprays, as well as tick repellents and products you can use to kill ticks are commercially available today. They are commercially available as spot-on topical products. Once again, you have to use these products according to the directions on their labels.

Using products without following the directions on their labels can jeopardize a cat’s health and thus, it’s not the wisest thing to do when trying to prevent lyme disease from attacking your cat. Of course, the prevention methods mentioned earlier aren’t the only ones you can resort to if you want to prevent lyme disease from attacking your cat.

Controlling the tick population in the environment your cat possibly visits in your residence is also among the methods you can resort to. This method, even though, it’s not the easiest ones to use, can help you prevent lyme disease from attacking your cat. This method can help you reduce the deer and or rodent population in your residence.

Those are a number of methods you can resort to if you want to prevent lyme disease from infecting your beloved feline friend. Just consider resorting to one of the methods mentioned earlier if you don’t want your beloved get to get infected by lyme disease.

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