Lyme Disease in Cats

Cats can be bitten by ticks and develop rickettsial (bacteria of the Rickettsia genus) infectionsIMG 53331 300x200 similar to dogs and people.  Unlike dogs and people, cats appear to be more resistant to developing clinical signs secondary to rickettsial infections.  Some of the possible rickettsial infections are the following:  Erhlichiosis, anaplasmosis, and borreliosis (also known as Lyme disease).  Cats have been evaluated for antibodies to Borrelia burgdoferi, which is the infectious organism that causes Lyme disease.  A high percentage of cats in endemic areas were found to be antibody-positive, which confirms infection.  Interestingly, even though they are being infected with Borrelia burgdorferi there has never been a cat confirmed with naturally occurring Lyme disease.  Cats appear to be more resistant to Lyme disease then dogs and people, but we do not know why.

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Dr Peter Nurre

Peter Nurre, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (internal medicine) is a board- certified veterinary internal medicine specialist. His professional interests include internal medicine and cardiology.

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