Lyme disease in cats: cause, symptoms, treatment

Lyme disease in cats is one of the newer diseases. We learn to recognize the symptoms and the right prevention, to save our cat.

Lyme disease is an infectious disease that most affects dogs and can affect humans as it is a zoonosis. Its diagnosis is difficult, in humans as in animals. Dogs and cats can become infected with Borrelia burgdorferi without ever producing symptoms of Lyme disease.

The cat who has the opportunity to spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in areas with shrubs or tall grasses, is at a higher risk of contracting Lyme disease. It is important to remember that ticks can be carried to other animals, so even cats that do not stray could be bitten by a tick, which carries the bacterium.

Cause and contagion of Lyme disease

Borrelliosis, also known as Lyme disease, is caused by a bacterium, specifically a spirochetes called Borrelia burdogferi, and is transmitted by ticks of the Ixodes genus which rarely affects cats. There are several varieties of known ticks that can transmit borreliosis. The larva, nymph or tick, ingests the bacteria responsible for the disease when it feeds on infected soil.

The mint is present all year round but especially in spring and summer, it is found in bushes, grass, forests, parks, gardens. When he clings to the cat, he risks transmitting the infection to her. This risk increases over time, but it is estimated that Lyme disease can rarely be transmitted before 24 or 48 hours.

Lyme Disease Symptoms

If your cat is infected with Lyme disease, symptoms may appear two to three months after the tick bite and will be as follows:

  • fever;
  • a reduction;
  • loss of appetite in the cat ;
  • a hesitant approach, as the muscles and joints are stiff and sore.

Lyme Disease Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis can be difficult to establish early in the disease, especially since this disease is rarer than the cat. Diagnosis is based on serological or culture tests. Your vet will propose a treatment plan that is in line with your cat’s needs and medical situation.

In the event that the disease is in an advanced stage, an intravenous serum will be administered, to prevent dehydration and will also treat the symptoms with anti-inflammatories. Because many cats do not develop symptoms after B. burgdorferi infection, the diagnosis of Lyme disease must be made from a combination of factors, including history (especially exposure to ticks), symptoms, and a rapid response. to antibiotic treatment.

Other diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, urine tests, x-rays, and joint fluid samples, may also be done, to detect more serious effects of Lyme disease, such as cat kidney disease, and to rule out other conditions that may be causing it similar signs. In any case, antibiotic treatment usually has rapid symptom relief effects.


Lyme disease is unlikely to affect your cat, but having care and love for your pet through prevention can save your cat’s life. And for this different measures are possible, through:

  • Collars: animal neck collars. They are effective from one to six months depending on the brand and usually prevent major parasites, including ticks.
  • Spray: Spray on the cat’s hair, avoiding the eyes, nose, mouth and anogenital area when needed.
  • Pipettes: are pesticides in cats that are sold in very small plastic “bottles” in which there is liquid. The hood is removed and placed on the back of the neck, usually once a month.
  • Pills: These are anti-parasitic tablets that work from inside the cat’s body. They are used in very severe cases of infestation or when other pesticides do not have the desired effect.

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