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Parasites such as fleas and ticks can be very damaging to your cat’s health. Preventive measures should be taken year-round to inhibit potential outbreaks.
The idea of your cat being infested with parasites is a disturbing thought, but it’s also a medical issue that can have serious consequences. Parasites can diminish the quality of life and even cause life-threatening health issues.
Common internal parasites include heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. The most frequent external parasites include fleas, ticks, and ear mites. Your cat should be free from parasites, both internal and external.
Fleas are small, wingless, brown, fast-moving insects you can see in your cat’s fur. Some animals are allergic to the saliva of fleas, which can cause inflammation, itch, and more discomfort. If ingested while your cat is grooming themselves, fleas can transmit an intestinal parasite called tapeworm. Flea infestations can lead to anemia and fleas are also capable of transmitting serious diseases.
Ticks are members of the spider family and live in cracks and crevices in the home or outside in vegetation such as grassy meadows, woods, brush, and weeds. Some tick bites only cause mild irritation or swelling at the site, but other tick bites can infect your cat with serious illnesses. If left untreated, these diseases, such as lyme, can lead to more severe health problems or even be fatal.
Note: If you see a tick and cannot remove it, we will gladly help you. Call us immediately to limit the impact of the tick's attachment. It’s much safer to have one of our trained professionals remove the tick for you. Make an appointment with us immediately to limit the impact of the tick.
Heartworms are transmitted when an infected mosquito bites your cat. Heartworms are parasites that live in the heart and its surrounding blood vessels. The adult heartworm produces offspring called microfilariae, which circulate in the cat’s blood. Unrecognized and untreated heartworm infections can be fatal.
If your cat is showing signs of fleas such as continuous scratching, gnawing or licking, schedule an appointment immediately. Additionally, flea dirt, the byproduct of fleas that looks like coffee grounds or pepper, can usually be seen by looking at your cat’s abdomen or by combing your cat’s coat with a fine-tooth comb.
If you see a tick on your cat, do not try and burn it off with a match. This does not work and could harm your cat. It’s much safer to have one of our trained professionals remove the tick for you. Make an appointment with us immediately to limit the impact of the tick.
The best treatment for heartworms is prevention. One of the most common and effective prevention methods is a monthly tropical or oral medication.
The parasite is transmitted through mosquito bites and usually the cat shows no signs for months. Later symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing, weight loss, tiring easily and listlessness. In many cases cats do not show outward signs until advanced stages of the disease. An annual blood test is recommended to screen for heartworms. This disease can be treated if found early, but it can be costly.
Our veterinary team is happy to help you choose the correct preventive regimen based on your cat’s risk factors and health status. It is important to discuss with us yearly which pest control products are ideal for your household based on the everyday life of your cat.