Cytauxzoonosis is found mainly across the southeastern portion of the United States in cats allowed to roam in heavily wooded areas. Ticks are thought to transmit this protozoal organism, which attacks the host’s red blood cells and causes anemia.
As a result, clinical signs associated with cytauxzoonosis include those related to anemia, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, breathing difficulties, and pale mucous membranes. Veterinarians can diagnose this disorder by observing specially stained blood smears under the microscope.
Unfortunately, once a diagnosis is made, there is no known effective treatment and infected cats invariably die from the disease. Good tick control and limiting access to high-risk environmental areas are the two best ways to protect a cat from this fatal disease.