Diagnosing Lyme Disease in Cats

Lyme disease in cats is caused by a tick bite. The tick must attach itself to your pet's skin for at least 24 hours for the damage to occur. Lyme disease in cats is a common occurrence, and can cause numerous symptoms and problems in your pet's overall health. There are several ways to treat Lyme disease in cats. Some of these treatments include antibiotics, topical creams and shampoos. 

Causes of Lyme Disease in Cats

Lyme disease in felines is caused by bacteria that is spread by ticks. This bacteria is usually found in deer or mice, and when a tick bites an animal that is hosting the bacteria, it becomes a carrier. Once the tick that is carrying the bacteria bites another animal, such as your pet, it can easily pass the harmful bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Although humans can also get Lyme disease, they cannot catch the condition from their pets. The bacteria must be transmitted through an actual tick bite. 

Lyme disease in cats is more common in certain areas of the United States, such as the Midwest, the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic states. Areas with a heavy prevalence of ticks have a bigger risk for Lyme disease than areas that are not as heavily populated by ticks. 

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Cats

Lyme disease in felines can cause various symptoms in your pet. The following symptoms are common:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of energy
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Arthritis
  • Lameness
  • Weight Loss

Symptoms of Lyme disease in cats are usually not as serious as the symptoms seen in humans with Lyme disease. In very rare or severe cases, kidney disease or kidney failure may also be a sign of the condition. 

Diagnosing Lyme Disease

When you suspect your cat is showing signs of Lyme disease, it is best to contact a veterinarian to receive a full diagnosis. If it is indeed Lyme disease that your pet is suffering from, it is much better to catch the condition early on. 

Diagnosing Lyme disease in cats is usually done by various blood tests. A look at your pet's red blood cell count can offer some clues as to whether he has the disease. A veterinarian will also check the cat's skin for any remaining ticks and bites. Once Lyme disease has been established in your pet, he can begin the proper treatments for the condition. 

Treating Lyme Disease

One of the most common ways to treat Lyme disease in cats is by antibiotics. This treatment option is very effective, and should give good results in your pet. Shampoos and topical ointments may also be used to kill ticks and help heal bites. 

When you notice a tick on your pet's skin, you can remove it at home. Using tweezers, you can pull the tick out very carefully. Pulling the tick out by the head is recommended, as this will prevent any contents of the body from entering your pet's system. After the tick has been removed, cleanse the area with hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria. It is recommended that pet owners wear gloves while performing this procedure at home.