Winning the War Between Cats and Parasites With Year Round Prevention
Organisms that live on or inside other species at their host’s expense aren’t welcome in our homes, but sometimes they come in without an invitation. All these blood suckers need are hosts to feed from, and cats are easy targets no matter the season. The war between cats and parasites rages on year round, but parasite infestations are easy to prevent.
At your cat’s annual wellness exam we will discuss the best practices to use against parasites. The good news is that medications to guard against parasites are more affordable than treating the various potential diseases transmitted to your cat. Depending on your cat’s age and lifestyle we will determine the most effective prevention.
All cats, indoor and indoor-outdoor, should be protected from parasites. The ongoing battle between cats and parasites hinges on how these pesky bugs affect our feline friends.
The following external parasites attach to a cat’s hair or skin:
- Fleas – The small jumping parasites suck the blood of all mammals, so if your home gets infested human family members may also be targeted. Fleas cause itchy skin, but they can also transmit internal parasites, tapeworms, and pathogens into the bloodstream.
- Ticks – Harbored by wooded or grassy areas, ticks attach to a roaming feline’s legs or abdomen. Even if your cat doesn’t go outside, ticks can come inside the home via pant legs or shoes. Serious infections like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain fever are deposited directly into the bloodstream from blood-sucking ticks.
- Mites – These tiny insects live on the skin and cause severe irritation, pain, hair loss and secondary bacterial infections. Ear mites commonly feed on a cat’s auditory canal, so if you see your cat shaking their head or scratching their head and ears excessively they may need help.
Parasites that get inside your cat’s organs can be incredibly dangerous to their health.
- Roundworms – Found in water and soil (even bagged commercial potting varieties) the eggs of these internal parasites roam throughout their hosts until they reach the intestines. They can grow to six inches long, causing serious abdominal discomfort and vomiting in cats.
- Tapeworms – Cats that eat prey infected by tapeworms may lose weight or appear lethargic. Take a close look in the litter box for evidence of these intestinal worms.
- Hookworms – These intestinal parasites can enter the body through the feet or when a cat eats larvae. Weight loss, anemia, dull coat and blood passed in their stool all indicate that a cat and parasites are fighting it out.
- Coccidia – These single-celled organisms aren’t worms, but they do live in their host’s intestinal lining and cause diarrhea. Cats may pick these up from eating birds or mice, or when they come into contact with the stool of infected animals.
- Heartworm – Transmission of these horrible worms is through the bite of an infected mosquito. Heartworm disease is untreatable in cats, and can be fatal. As a result, year round prevention is essential.
Cats and Parasites
You can win the war against cat parasites with year round prevention medication. Testing for parasites every year should be part of the defense against potential infections and infestations.
If you have questions about cats and parasites, please let us know.
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