Cat Parasite Treatment & Prevention
A necessary and often overlooked aspect of quality cat care is cat parasite treatment and prevention. Being familiar with the symptoms of a parasite infestation, and getting immediate attention for both kittens and adults, is essential for year-round prevention. Parasites come in all different shapes and sizes, from external parasites to internal parasites. They can be painful, irritating, and dangerous to your pet if left untreated; some are also transmissible to humans.
Many Health Problems are Caused by Parasites
At Hastings Veterinary Hospital, we urge year-round parasite protection for cats as a part of normal preventative healthcare. It is common for cats to be infected by parasites at some point in their lives, either internally (e.g. roundworm, tapeworm, giardia) or externally (e.g. fleas, ticks, lice). Pets with parasite infestations are typically in mild to severe discomfort, depending on the severity of the infestation. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health risks seen in not only the pet, but also in the humans who care for them.
Even if your cat remains strictly indoors, he or she is still at risk to a parasite infestation. They can be carried into the house by other animals, humans, insects, and rodents.
- Flea Infestation– A flea’s normal lifecycle can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 8 months; they are even able to live for up to one year without a blood meal. A flea bite can carry a wide range of diseases, including tapeworms.
- Roundworm Parasite– A roundworm’s normal lifecycle can be anywhere from 4-5 weeks. This type of parasite is able to pass from species to species, including humans. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, a bloated abdomen, and their larva can even occur in the eye.
Gastrointestinal parasites are a common problem for cats. Watch for the symptoms of coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, a dull coat, bloated abdomen, or blood or worms in feces.
- Common Worm Parasites: Hookworms can penetrate through the skin to infest an animal; it is transferable to humans and other species. If the parasites are left untreated it can cause anemia and shock.
- Tapeworms can affect dogs, cats, horses, and even people. Typically your cat can become infected if they ingest fleas or are bitten by fleas. Small segments can be seen in stools or around the hind end.
- Common Single-Celled Parasites: Giardia can be found in untreated water worldwide. It can cause mild to severe diarrhea.
Cat Owners Can Reduce Parasite Problems
Problems with parasites are very common, and pet owners can reduce the likelihood of infections and re-infections with good sanitation habits:
- Remove feces from the litter box daily.
- Wash the litter box with diluted household bleach on a regular basis.
- Do not allow anyone to feed raw meat to your cat.
- Make sure fleas, ticks, and rodents in your house are dealt with immediately.
- Provide fresh water for your cat daily.
Year-Round Protection is the Safest Bet
A protective program can provide year-round protection to keep your cat healthy and free from parasites:
- Annual checkups are a great way to catch infestations early, or help them to be diagnosed. Proper treatment can be started to rid your pet and home of parasites.
- Fecal testing is recommended twice a year for adult cats, after a full course of de-worming treatment.
- Kittens are recommended to receive 3 courses of de-worming treatment, one with each booster vaccine. After, it is recommended to de-worm your pet every 6 months to 1 year.
- Topical or oral flea prevention is recommended year-round.
Our veterinarians can help you determine the best treatment type and frequency for excellent protection against parasites.
To learn more about cat parasite treatment and prevention and how your veterinarian can help, visit our clinic at: 3995 Hastings Street, Burnaby, BC, V5C 2H8; or call us at: 604-291-6666.