Lyme Disease in Cats

The lyme disease in cats is caused by a tick that hasn’t been removed; the tick will spread bacteria and cause an infection. The tick needs to be removed and the treatment of the lyme disease consists of antibiotics. The disease cannot be transmitted from infected cats to humans; however humans may get the infection if they get bitten by a tick and fail to remove it in a timely manner.


The lyme disease is transmitted from tick to cat through a bite. If the tick is not removed 24 hours after the bite, it will infect the cat with a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. These bacteria are found in mice and other small animals or deer. Ticks feed on the blood of these animals, so they become carriers of the bacteria.

Symptoms of Feline Lyme Disease

The ticks are characteristic to bushy and mountainous areas. Felines living in such areas are more exposed to the lyme disease, however if you take your pet out on a trip, you should check his fur and skin for ticks.

After the cat is infected, he may display symptoms such as:

  • Joint inflammation or arthritis
  • Fever
  • Lameness
  • Tiredness
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of appetite
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes

The symptoms in cats may be subtle, however, in some cases, the cat may experience kidney disease caused by bacteria.

Detection and Diagnosis of Lyme Disease

If you suspect your cat has lyme disease, you should look for ticks on the skin and see if there are any symptoms; take the cat to the vet. A blood test will show if the infection is present. The red cell count will be low.

The vet will also inspect if there are any ticks on the surface of the cat’s skin. These need to be removed.

Treatment of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that may be treated with the administration of antibiotics. The treatment should last 10 to 14 days.

The red blood cell count should also be supervised and you may ask for some iron supplements.

Remove a Tick from Your Cat

If your cat has been bitten by a tick, the tick will hold on to your pet’s skin, so you will need to remove it. If you fail to remove the tick 24 hours after the bite, it may cause the lyme disease.

Make sure you wear some surgical gloves when you extract the tick, as you may get the infection also. Ticks are brown and visible on the surface of the cat’s skin. Get a pair of tweezers and grab the tick’s body. Make sure you extract the entire tick. While you extract it, make sure you don’t squeeze the tick, as it may release the bacteria and infect your pet.

After removing the tick, get some disinfectant such as hydrogen peroxide and apply an antibiotic ointment. The cat may have a rash or an allergic reaction, which may be treated with a steroid ointment.

Take your pet to the vet is you suspect he may be infected with the lyme disease.