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Nashville-area woman's cat dies from Bobcat Fever

Samson died Friday after contracting Bobcat Fever.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Right now, a very deadly disease is posing a threat to domestic cats in the mid-state.

Several local veterinarians and pet owners are reporting cases of Bobcat Fever. The disease is carried from bobcats to domestic cats through ticks.

Experts say Cytauxzoon felis (commonly known as Bobcat Fever) is a parasite that gets into the bloodstream. It's so aggressive even with treatment, the mortality rate is 60 percent.

"Samson was definitely one of our family members, our whole community knew him," says Jenny Hammer.

But the Nashville cat owner noticed last Sunday, her two-year-old cat was squinting and becoming more lethargic.

Hammer explains, "I kept a close eye on him and he seemed to go back and forth, that was the tricky part. He seemed to be okay and then not okay. By Tuesday night he seemed bad, he was roaming around his food bowl, unable to eat...which is a sign."

Hammer took Samson in to the local veterinarian on Wednesday, where she discovered he had the same disease her sister's cat had died from previously.

It begins to shut down all the their organs and it's super painful, " Hammer says her vet, "He said Samson definitely has Bobcat Fever and he said the most shocking part was that he had the Seresto collar on. "

The collar is made to prevent ticks and diseases they transmit.

Hammer says, "I was very shocked because when my sisters pet died the vet told her basically the only line of defense is the Seresto collar. Since two years ago, we've had them on all our pets and that was the shocking part because it got through."

"Even if you're doing 100 percent everything you can, a lot of times we lose these kitties. Different tick and flea medications work differently so there's a lot of questions that go into it," says Dr. April Williams.

The Nashville Pet Emergency Clinic veterinarian says keeping your cats indoors can help. It's also important to consult your vet right away if you notice any serious symptoms because early detection and prevention are key.

According to Dr. Williams, "For a pet to go from completely healthy to dead in a very short amount of time is pretty much the status quo of the disease and that's one of the things that makes it so awful."

Hammer says Samson's experienced a high fever that dropped in ICU. Despite the I.V., antibiotics and feeding tube...Samson died on Friday. He leaves his sister, Chloe behind.

"He will be missed by a lot of people. For it to be the second cat in two years in our family, people need to know about this and hopefully save more lives," adds Hammer.

Hammer says she reached out to university research institutions and is discussing ways to raise money for more Bobcat Fever treatment research funding. Anyone that wants to join her efforts or learn more can email Jenny Hammer.

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