As a caring pet owner, you want to do everything in your power to keep your tabby healthy and happy. Unfortunately, even the most diligent cat parent can’t keep parasites at bey. The most common pet parasite is worms, and there are several to look out for.
Parasites are easy to forget about because they tend to live anonymously in our carpets and or kitty’s intestines. However, some of them can make us and our pets very sick; a few are even fatal. It may not be the most palatable conversation to have, but here’s an overview of common cat parasites and what to do about them.
How Do Cats Get Parasites?
The main mode of transmission is through ingesting eggs. They’re present in feces, prey animals and the ground beneath our feet. Even strictly indoor animals aren’t immune to exposure. Eggs get under their claws or stick to their feet whenever they use the litter box and are swallowed in the course of grooming. Mousers are at high risk for parasites through consuming rodents and their fleas. Kittens can be exposed to parasites in-utero or through their mother’s breast milk while nursing.
Is There Any Way to Prevent Them?
We may not be able to rid our pets of parasites entirely unless we strictly control their movement However, 99 percent of parasites can be reduced or eliminated completely through being proactive and giving your pet medication to kill the eggs before they hatch and cause an infestation. Changing the litter box frequently, keeping cats indoors at all times and reducing the rodent population around the house are other ways to limit exposure.
What Are the Most Common Types of Feline Parasites?
There three common types of intestinal parasites that are common to domestic felines.
– Tapeworm: The Dipylidium caninum, aka tapeworm, is one of those parasites that goes unnoticed until it makes an appearance under the fur near the cat’s anus; look for something that appears to be a wriggling grain of rice. They’re transmitted by swallowing infected fleas, and they can be transferred to humans. Another, lesser known variety is the Taenia taeniaeformis. Non-vets can tell the difference by whether the cat has been giving flea protection but still has the signs of a tapeworm infection. Prescription meds for this type of worm are needed ASAP.
– Heartworm: This deadly parasites is most associated with dogs, but it’s actually more prevalent in felines. They’re spread through mosquito bites, so insect control will help. Prevention is preferable than having to treat and infection due to the high cost and low mortality rate in pets with heart worm. Your vet will recommend to correct type and schedule for heart worm inoculation.
– Toxoplasmosis: As scary as this disease is, and as deadly as it to humans who contract it, it’s not as easy to transmit as news reports would lead you to believe. Oocysts, the egg-like pods that carry the larvae, can be picked up while changing the litter box or digging in the garden. Pregnant women and those will weak immune systems should avoid areas of infestation unless wearing gloves and other protection. Keeping your cat in the house and practicing good hygiene will help prevent oocysts transmission.
How Do You De-Worm a Cat?
Sometimes, you can find signs of a parasite infestation in your cat’s fecal matter, but your vet will check for them routinely at the annual well-pet check even they they show no symptoms. Diagnosis can be done by examining a stool sample under a microscope or through blood work. After that, it’s a simple matter of introducing the right medication. Some work with specific types of parasites, others with several species. Your vet will know which is the best option after an examination.
According to a study conducted by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 45 percent of felines have worms at any given time. You can be proactive about protecting your pet and buy your cat worming products from Vet Products Direct.