Parasite Prevention and Care
An excellent resource for information about parasites that can affect your cat and also your family is available through the Companion Animal Parasite Council. Visit their page at www.petsandparasites.org/cat-owners/overview.
Feline Heartworm Disease
Heartworms may be one of the most deadly parasites in cats. While many pet owners are aware of heartworm disease in dogs, most people don’t know that heartworms also affect cats – even indoor ones. The clinical signs of heartworm infection in cats can be very non-specific, and may mimic many other feline diseases. Some signs of potential heartworm infection include vomiting intermittently (food or foam, usually unrelated to eating), tiredness, lack of appetite, weight loss, coughing, asthma-like signs (intermittent difficulty in breathing, panting, open-mouthed breathing), gagging, difficulty breathing or rapid breathing. We can test your cat for heartworm disease in our hospital to determine if this may be the cause of their signs. In some cases, blood needs to be sent to the outside laboratory for further evaluation. Sadly, there is no approved treatment for adult heartworm infection in cats. The only option is prevention. We also recommend monthly prevention such as Revolution or Heartgard for Cats. To learn more please visit www.knowheartworms.org or www.heartwormsociety.org.
Fleas are a nuisance for pet owners and a discomfort to pets. Once established in your home, they can be difficult to resolve. Fleas can cause an allergic skin condition in cats called Flea Allergy Dermatitis, and in extreme cases, life threatening anemia. Fleas can transmit tapeworms (an intestinal parasite). Fleas can also transmit infection with bartonella disease known as "Cat Scratch Disease". We would be happy to recommend a flea prevention program for your cat and/or a flea treatment program for your cat and your house. Please use only flea products labeled for use in cats. Some dog flea products can be deadly when used on cats. For more information please visit: www.fabcats.org/owners/fleas/info.html
Intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and others can cause significant disease for our indoor and outdoor cats. Several worms can affect people too – especially young children. Intestinal worms can lead to weight loss, poor haircoat, blood loss, diarrhea, vomiting and even death. At The Cat Doctor of Monroe, we recommend a stool examination and deworming twice yearly for adult cats and a serial deworming for young kittens. We also recommend monthly prevention such as Revolution or Heartgard for Cats. Visit the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s site for more information. www.petsandparasites.org/cat-owners/overview