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Parasite Prevention in Cats: Your cat’s wellness program and year-round preventive care has to includes parasite control. Parasites affect your cat’s health and comfort, left untreated can cause your cat pain and suffering and sometimes even shorter their life. Just like dogs, cat parasite can be transmissible to people as well, this is referred to as a zoonotic parasite. One example is cat scratch fever which is caused by a bacteria carried by fleas.

Kittens

Kittens are especially sensitive to parasites, both to getting infected and to harboring them. Keep your kitten healthy by getting them dewormed as the vet instructs, don’t miss the follow up de-worming sessions, as all the cycles of worms need to die because the parasite is truly gone.

Parasite Prevention In Cats: Kitten receiving a deworming pill

Kittens are frequently infected by intestinal parasites, and are prone to reinfection, which can occur during nursing and through her environment. Kittens also often harbor immature forms of parasites, which can also wreak havoc on you’re their organ systems.

Internally

What are the types of parasites that live in and travel through your cat’s blood stream?

Heartworm – enter a cat’s bloodstream from the bite of an infected mosquito. The worms mature in the cat’s heart and clog it. Inflammation in the cat’s arterial wall disrupts blood flow, making the heart have to work harder. Talk with your vet if you live in a high risk area, even inside cats are susceptible to heartworm.

  • Prevention – Heartworm medication is a prescription through the vet, it is a once a month treatment via chewable tablet. Your cat must be tested for heartworm before you get a prescription for it to prevent it.

Ticks – can cause a number of serious illnesses, and including Lymes disease, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Given the many ailments associated with ticks, annual screening by your vet for tick disease is mandatory.

  • Prevention – Treating your cat with a monthly flea and tick prevention that is recommend by your vet is the best way prevent infestation.

Roundworms – are an extremely common parasite, and again, kittens are most at risk. Roundworms have the appearance of white firm rounded strips of spaghetti, one to three inches long.

  • Prevention – All kittens should be de-wormed as part of the vaccination process. Adult cats do need boosters if you see them worms in the stool.

Tapeworms – Fleas are the primary culprit in the contraction of the tapeworm.  The tape worm is a flea in its larvae stage, and is passed out the intestinal tract and onto the cat in the flea form

  • Prevention – protection against tapeworms is to the keep your cat treated for fleas and away from dead animals and garbage.

Does My Indoor-Only Cat Need Parasite Prevention?

Parasites are everywhere and reside quite happily inside and on our treasured cats.

The reality is that many cats have very fluid lifestyles—they might spend most of their time indoors, but occasionally sun themselves on the back porch, live with animal housemates who go outdoors. And while there are true indoor-only house cats, they frequently enjoy killing and consuming bugs. Insects can serve as transport or intermediate hosts for some of the more common intestinal parasites.

Anyone who’s been plagued by a buzzing mosquito or housefly knows how easily flying insects can gain access to even the most well-secured house.

Fleas can live inside homes all it takes is one to get inside.  Heated, humidified homes are terrific breeding grounds for fleas, as well as a place of refuge for flea-carrying rodents. Exposure to parasites can also happen when shoes and other clothing covered in contaminants fresh from the parasite reservoir are worn indoors.  All of these instances create an opportunity for parasite exposure in a typical house cat.



Alexa Diaz
Alexa Diaz

Alexa graduated from University of California, Davis with a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior in 2002. She also has a background at a veterinary technician. She is currently the head behaviorist at the K9 Training Institute. Her passion is helping pet owners understand the body language of their pet to strengthen the human-animal bond. Alexa enjoys spending time in nature with her husband and playing with her kitties. She says her proudest moment was graduating the first group of service dogs she trained for children with disabilities.



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