Florida Cat Tick
Location: Tampa, Florida
December 27, 2010 12:27 pm
Hi. I live in Tampa, Florida, near the Lutz-Tampa County Line Road. For the last 2 months we’ve seen a whole bunch of these ticks on our outdoor cat (his chin and neck) but we bring him inside when the night-time weather will be below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.78 Celsius) so he’s spent a lot of time inside lately because its been a cold winter. He brought some in with him. I just pulled a fat blood-engorged one off our strictly indoor cat and was wondering if it could have caused her recent FUO (fever of unknown origin). Her temp fluctuated between 101.3 and 105.2 F (38.5-40.67 C) for a week and a half. Fever, and the lethargy and appetite loss that accompany it, were her only symptoms. I took her to the vet when the fever got dangerously high (seizures and brain damage high); a round of antibiotics helped her beat it. (P.S. Normally a cat’s temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 F or 38-39.16 C, and I didn’t take her sooner because I knew techniques to ke ep her hydrated and get her to eat.)
It doesn’t look like (basic body shape) the tick pics I’ve seen. Its legs all seem to be in the front, near its head, instead of spread out across the body. I was thinking maybe it is not in the adult stage. Also, its blood sac was more dark brown before I put it in rubbing alcohol (now it’s tan/yellow). Its body is soft, not hard.
The squares of the graph paper are 5 mm x 5 millimeters.
Also, I would like to know what you think about HOW I removed the tick. I followed the instructions here.
The directions say to rub the tick in a circular motion like you’re trying to make it dizzy. I tried it and the tick released after about ten seconds. It worked BEAUTIFULLY!
Unfortunately, one of the site comments discouraged this technique, as annoying a tick with rubbing alcohol, vaseline, matches, or squeezing (and apparently spinning) can make the tick spit/regurgitate into the bloodstream some nasty, harmful pathogens. What do you think? (I think that the spinning technique works so fast that even if it is an irritant that could make them spit, they release so quickly that they don’t have a chance to.)
I’d really like to ID the tick because my brother thinks my cat is starting to act lethargic again.
Also, (SORRY) if I want to store the tick, in case my cat DOES get sick again, so that the tick can be tested for diseases. Do I leave it in rubbing alcohol or put it in something else, because I saw on a CSI episode that they couldn’t do a DNA test on a severed head because it had been transported/preserved in formaldehyde.
Signature: Katie Kitty


Dear Katie Kitty,
We are very reluctant to give medical advice, and that includes advice for pets as well as people.  We would strongly suggest that you consult with a veterinarian regarding your questions.  We can tell you that Ticks are known carriers of pathogens including Lyme Disease.  We imagine that preserving a Tick in rubbing alcohol may render any testing for pathogens unreliable.  We believe this may be a Black Legged Tick or Deer Tick,
Ixodes scapularis, based on an image posted to BugGuide.


Location: Florida

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