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What Happens If Your Cat Gets Lyme Disease?

Like humans and dogs, cats can get Lyme disease, but it occurs less frequently in cats than in dogs. Cats rarely get this disease, making it less of a concern for cat owners. However, tick-borne conditions are potentially deadly if not treated quickly. So, it is wise to learn more about them to know how to protect your family and feline companion.


What Is Lyme Disease in Cats?

A bacterium transmitted through a tick bite, known as Borrelia burgdorferi, causes Lyme disease in cats. Four tick species can transmit this disease, but the black-legged or deer tick is the most common. Lyme disease can affect a cat’s joints, kidneys, heart, and nervous system. 


Signs and Symptoms

If your cat gets Lyme disease, you may not notice any symptoms. There is no record of a cat infected with this disease outside the laboratory in a natural setting. However, the condition can cause severe problems and is common among dogs and humans. So, it would help to learn more about it, including the signs and symptoms of infection. 

Consult your veterinarian at R Veterinary Group as soon as possible if you notice any of the following symptoms in your furry friend:


  • Swelling and stiffness in the joints

  • Fever

  • Loss of appetite

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Lethargy

  • Sensitivity to touch

  • Tiredness

  • Poor bladder control

  • Kidney issues

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Stomach swelling


What Will Happen If Your Cat Gets Lyme Disease?

Since Lyme disease affects muscles and joints, your cat may start limping, shifting from one leg to another. Sometimes, your cat’s limbs may feel better, but the discomfort or pain reoccurs later. Your cat may also start acting listless and experience a loss of appetite as the bacteria starts affecting the heart. 

Although Lyme disease can cause fever, it is best to let your veterinarian determine the cause of the high fever. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause kidney disease, as the bacteria travel throughout your cat’s bloodstream. That will likely lead to increased vomiting, urination, and thirst. 



If your cat has Lyme disease, the prognosis is pretty good, provided you address the problem quickly. Unfortunately, delayed treatment might lead to a more extended recovery period. Your cat may also suffer irreversible and painful damage to some tissues and joints. 


Preventing Lyme Disease in Cats

Tick control is the best way to prevent this disease in humans and pets. To keep your cat safe and healthy, check for ticks frequently and quickly remove them safely. To do so, pull back your cat’s fur and check for ticks at the skin level. 

Feeding ticks attach themselves to the animal’s skin and feed for at least 12 hours before transmitting the Lyme disease-causing bacteria. So, removing the parasite as soon as possible will help prevent transmission. You must be careful handling the ticks as they can also infect you. 

Use the correct tick-killing and prevention products according to your veterinarian’s advice since cats are very allergic or sensitive to various chemicals. It would also help to keep the brush and grass trimmed in your yard and throw away materials and litter where ticks may hide.

If you suspect your cat is sick, contact your veterinarian immediately. You should also consult your veterinarian about any health-related questions. Recovery from Lyme disease will depend on the tissue damage caused by the condition. 

For more on feline Lyme disease, visit R Veterinary Group at our offices in Linn Creek, Waynesville, or Columbia, Missouri. Call (573) 346-5733, (573) 443-7274, (573) 774-3337, or (573) 875-7825​​​​​​​ to book an appointment today.

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