MINNESOTA – The dog days of summer poses a brand new threat for all cats in the Twin Cities: experts are seeing a spike in a rare disease typically contracted by cats that hunt.
According to some veterinarians at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center, they’ve treated eight confirmed or suspected cases of Tularemia. Officials typically see only a handful cases each year.
“Five of those cats did not make it and three did, including one that we treated here,” stated Dr. Jennifer Granick, who works in the Small Animal Internal Medicine Department at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center.
Granick went on to explain that the disease is caused by a bacterial infection often carried by rabbits, which means hunting cats are at the greatest risk of catching the disease. However, ticks and flies can also transmit the disease through bites.
Granick went on to note that pet owners should look out for the classic signs, including high fevers and disinterest in eating. If it is caught early enough, the disease can be cured with a combination of antibiotics.
As for dogs and people, both can also contract this particular disease. However, dogs rarely show any symptoms of the disease, and only a couple people are diagnosed with the disease every year. Experts are now recommending that people beware any signs of the disease in their cats and get medical attention if they see those signs in themselves.
Here is the final recommendation from the experts: if possible, keep your cats indoors. However, veterinarians also recognize that’s not possible for all cats. Given that, they do encourage owners to monitor their cats’ outdoor activity — to try to curb hunting – and also use flea and tick preventions.