Cats or feline are prone to various forms of parasitic infection. The type of parasites the cats are more prone to depends on its age, lifestyle, seasonality, and the environment.
Parasitic infection can be both internal and external.
- It’s important to note that even indoor cats need parasite prevention since there are many ways parasites can enter your home, such as via insects.
- All kittens require a schedule of parasite treatments since they are at increased risk.
- Adult cats also require regular treatment based on individual risk factors.
There are mainly 3 types of parasitic infection in cats
Ectoparasites live on the outside of their host. Fleas and ticks are common ectoparasites! Most skin related diseases accounts for flea or tick infection. Sometimes, it can even cause internal ailments.
- Fleas can pass on disease to your cat such as Mycoplasma haemofelis. This is a parasite carried by fleas that can cause life-threatening anemia.
- Ticks, most famous in Minnesota for carrying Lyme disease, may hitch a ride indoors on your cat, detach, and then feed on a person, thereby transmitting disease.
Most infestations are easily traceable as they are visible to naked eye, however, the tinier fleas can be hard to trace. Since fleas feed on blood, they pass dried blood called fecal material. Fecal material or flea dirt can be differentiated from normal dirt by damp towel method. Nymphal stage of ticks can be difficult to trace as they are smaller.
Flea and tick prevention ranges from powders to collars, sprays or topical drops, and even oral medications. It’s better to consult with your veterinarian before applying any medication.
While heartworm disease is more common among dogs, it can also affect cats. Unlike dogs, testing for heartworm disease in cats is considered difficult. If a cat becomes infested, a single adult worm can lead to sudden death in your pet.
The symptoms may include: rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing or rapid breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, coughing (sometimes blood), lethargy, weight loss, or exercise intolerance.
As there is no safe treatment for infected cats, Veterinarians may provide supportive care in an effort to treat the symptoms.
Cats can get a variety of intestinal parasites or worms. Roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms are some common intestinal worms. Others are single cell organisms, such as coccidia, Giardia, and Toxoplasma.
Reluctance to eat, vomiting, or diarrhea are few signs of worm infection. Some of the worm, such as roundworms and hookworms, are zoonotic, hence it can infect humans too.
These parasites are easy to detect through a fecal flotation test, and are generally easy to treat with deworming medications.You must take extra caution with outdoor cats, as they are more prone to various kinds of infections and diseases.