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Parasite Problems in Your Family Cat

By Toy Dog Puppies in Massachusetts

When your family feline has parasites, just remember that it bears no reflection necessarily on your own hygiene habits.  You can maintain a super clean home.  You can wash and groom your pet regularly. You can treat them for fleas and ticks.  However, chances are that your cat will still get some type of parasite.  Parasites in your family cat are embodied in both external and internal forms.  Externally, fleas and ticks are the most common parasites and are usually treated regularly.  However, other external parasites include ear mites and lice. Internal parasites are primarily in the form of a worm.  And unfortunately for cats, these worms come in a variety of shapes and sizes as well as bring a number of different health issues too.

To understand the possible forms of parasites that might inhabit your cat’s body, let’s get a little more in-depth about the most common parasites that were previously listed above:

Fleas – These pesky critters are perhaps the most well known parasite of them all.  And because adult fleas can reproduce thousands upon thousands of young, this makes a flea infestation hard to control. In cats, fleas can be particularly bothersome.  They bite cats to obtain a meal of blood and the saliva the flea produces and injects into the cat can cause severe skin allergies.  When the cats scratch, this action irritates and sometimes breaks the skin causing scabs.

Ticks – These blood suckers are also a widely know external parasite.  They live for blood and need it in order to lays eggs so that even more ticks can hatch.  Ticks are mostly commonly found in heavily wooded areas as well as fields of grass.  They will latch onto the tops of blades of grass or weeds, just waiting for the next available warm body to latch onto.  Ticks carry several diseases like Lymes disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.  More common in cats however are various conditions like Cytauxzoon and Ehrlichia.  The Cytauxzoon is a protozoan that causes such symptoms as fever, anemia and lack of appetite. This condition is usually fatal.

Ear mites and lice – Ear mites are tiny little crab-like creatures that live in the ear canal and nibble on ear secretions and other tissue in the ear.  This critter is common and easily treated.  The most obvious signs of an ear mite problem include head shaking, ear scratching and dark grainy discharge from the ears.  Lice cause a similar reaction in cats as they do in humans.  The poor cats scratch a lot and they tend to lose some fur or have a dull coat.  Luckily, lice are easily treated with topical shampoos.

Worms – These internal parasites come in a variety of shapes, sizes and names.  The most common internal parasites are the roundworm and tapeworm. These can be seen in the cat’s feces without the aid of a microscope if the animal is indeed infected.  Roundworms can be transmitted via a mother’s milk or while still inside the mother’s womb.  These worms look like spaghetti noodles.  The tapeworm can be transmitted via flea larvae, especially if ingested.  This worm looks flat and segmented.  When veterinarians test your cat’s fecal matter, the tapeworm is the least likely to be detected.

Other worms that can inhabit your cat’s body include the hookworm and the whipworm.  The hookworm is small and skinny with a hook-like end that can easily latch onto the lining of the intestine.  It loves blood and will latch on for a filling meal.  Signs of poor appetite, weight loss and anemia are often indicators of the hookworm.  The whipworm gets its name from its shape and their eggs are usually ingested by contaminated food or water or when your cat nibbles on another animal’s droppings.

It is important that your cat’s feces be tested for worms by your veterinarian at each check-up.  And if your family feline is exhibiting any abnormal behavior, chances are, an infestation of worms could be the culprit.  Knowing exactly which parasitic worm is the problem will also help greatly in the treatment and deworming process because not every worm medication will treat every parasitic worm.  The best way to prevent parasite invaders is to take precautions.  Wash frequently and note any unusual behaviors in your cat.  Treat them regularly for fleas and ticks.  Make deworming a part of your normal routine in maintaining your cat’s health.

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