Parasite control de-mystified - Cats
There are many parasites that can harm our cats and working out how to best treat and prevent them can appear daunting!
There are two types of parasites – those which live on your animal called ectoparasites and those which live in your animal called endoparasites.
Fleas - Fleas are a very common parasite that most of us will have seen on our pets if not in a circus! They are extremely irritating to cats and if left can cause anaemia in kittens and severe skin reactions and infections in adult cats. They will also quickly infest your house and bite you! There are oral or spot on products to prevent and treat flea infestations. Your cat is most likely to be bothered by these pests in spring and autumn, but in reality they can be an all year-round problem, thanks to centrally heated houses with wall-to-wall carpeting.
Ear mites – Ear mites can be seen with the naked eye although they live deep down in the ear canal. They are very common an easily transmitted between cats. They cause ear infections with head shaking, ear scratching and lots of ear wax.
Ticks - Ticks are unpleasant parasites that can transmit a range of diseases including Lymes disease when they attach and take a blood meal. They are normally picked up in long grass or in woodland areas, especially where there are Deer or sheep around. Removing a tick with tweezers: Make sure you grab the tick by the head and not the body and gently twist. If you grab the tick by the body you may detach the head and this can cause an infection. Ticks can be controlled with collars or spot-ons.
Lice – Rarely seen on healthy cats but can affect cats that are rescued or very unwell. They cause itchy or scaly skin.
Harvest mites – orange coloured mites visible to the naked eye common in late summer and early autumn. Can cause irritation and dermatitis.
Round worm – visible as long and thin worms in the faeces. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and weight loss, which can be very severe especially in kittens. The toxocara species also pose a severe public health risk and can cause blindness and other severe illness in children. Children acquire the disease from playing in the garden/soil which a cat has defaecated. If you have young children monthly worming is recommended for their safety.
Hook worm – Visible as long worms with a hook on the end. They can cause diarrhoea, sickness, weight loss and anaemia.
Tape worm – flats segments in the faeces that look like grains of rice. They contribute to a flea infestation and also cause anal irritation and scooting.
All cats needs are different due to their differing lifestyles and habits. We will help you find the best protocol for your cat. Sign up to our health plan for discounts and to spread the cost with a monthly direct debit!
Category: Small Animals