Most cats will have to contend with parasites at some point in their lives.
As far as your cat’s concerned, the vast majority of parasitic infections are merely irritating. Yet if left untreated, they can lead to some serious life threatening conditions.
Fleas are the most common cause of skin disease in our pets. The most common type of flea to be found on all cats and dogs is the cat flea.
As well as causing skin conditions fleas can also transfer tapeworms to our pets by swallowing an infected flea.
If you want to feel the many, many joys that cat ownership can bring, then you’re going to have to get used to the idea that, sometimes, there will be fleas. Flea treatment for cats is an ongoing process. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix.
Life cycle of the flea
Once the flea has laid its eggs in your pet’s coat, these will be scattered around your house, settling on bedding, upholstery and carpets which we all share.
Depending on the environment, eggs will normally hatch within 2 days but in certain conditions they can remain dormant for up to a year before hatching.
Larvae will burrow into our carpets, furniture and bedding for 7 to 10 days during which time they feed on household dust whilst forming a cocoon.
At 7 to 10 days the adult flea has developed and will emerge from the cocoon. However if the weather is cold this process may take up to a year.
The adult flea starts producing eggs immediately and the cycle repeats itself.
If fleas have been seen on your pet then there will be eggs distributed around your house. We recommend INDOREX household spray. This can size is enough to treat an average 3 to 4 bedroom house and lasts for up to a year. This also kills adult fleas for up to 2 months.
We would advise thorough washing of bedding and vigorous vacuuming before use. The spray can be used on all soft furnishings, but any aquatic pets and birds must be removed for a short period, following the detailed instructions on the can. In the case of extreme infestations, local councils should be contacted.
Signs of fleas
- Persistent itching or scratching.
- Obvious flea dirt in the coat, recognisable as black flecks, which is the digested blood of your pet.
- Self-mutilation, hair loss and general reddening of the skin.
- Occasionally some pets have a flea allergic dermatitis where one flea can be enough to cause irritation over the skin.
Many pets can show none of the above signs yet still have a severe infestation.
Regular worming for your cat is crucial for their health and well-being. Some types of worm infestations, including heartworm and lungworm, can actually be lethal to kittens.
To protect your pet from the risk of worms, there are a number of precautions you can take:
Pay attention to your cat’s hunting habits
Cats that hunt are at particular risk from tapeworm as mice and other animals can be a source of infection. Try to keep an eye on where your pet goes when they leave the house. If you feel they may be in contact with other animals, it’s vital you maintain a regular worming routine.
Keep an eye out for these common signs of a worm infestation in your cat:
- bloated abdomen
- intense hunger could be a sign of roundworms
- check the litter tray, worms are sometimes apparent in excrement
Be aware that cats with worms do not always show signs of illness, except where the infestation is large, so you may not be aware your animal is affected. Another reason to provide regular treatments.
There are now so many worming products on the market making it confusing for pet owners to decide how to treat for worms.
As a rule of thumb, you should always speak to your vet to get advice on the best quality and most appropriate treatment for your cat.
We would always advise not to spend money on treatments found on the high street without getting veterinary advice. Some of these can be ineffective, or even make your cat feel worse.
Regular worming helps to minimise the amount of egg contamination in the environment. It is for this reason that the prevention of worms in cats is almost entirely reliant on pet owners maintaining a regular pet care routine.
If you have any further questions about protecting your pets against fleas and ticks, please contact us and speak to one of our veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses, who will be happy to advise you.
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