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Tick paralysis in a free-ranging bobcat (Lynx rufus)

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  • 1 1Department of Animal Health, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, 370 Zoo Pkwy, Jacksonville, FL 32218.
  • | 2 2Georgia Sea Turtle Center, 214 Stable Rd, Jekyll Island, GA 31527.
  • | 3 3Jekyll Island Authority, 100 James Rd, Jekyll Island, GA 31527.



A free-ranging male bobcat (Lynx rufus) was evaluated because of signs of pelvic limb paralysis.


Physical examination of the anesthetized animal revealed tick infestation, normal mentation, and a lack of evidence of traumatic injuries. Radiography revealed no clinically relevant abnormalities. Hematologic analysis results were generally unremarkable, and serologic tests for exposure to feline coronavirus, FeLV, FIV, and Toxoplasma gondii were negative. Results of PCR assays for flea- and common tick-borne organisms other than Bartonella clarridgeiae were negative.


Ticks were manually removed, and the patient received supportive care and fipronil treatment. The bobcat made a full recovery within 72 hours after treatment for ticks, and a presumptive diagnosis of tick paralysis was made. Identified tick species included Dermacenter variabilis, Amblyomma americanum, and Ixodes scapularis.


To the authors’ knowledge, tick paralysis has not previously been reported in felids outside Australia. This disease should be considered a differential diagnosis in felids, including exotic cats, with signs of neuromuscular disease of unknown etiopathogenesis.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Persky (perskym@jacksonvillezoo.org).