Types of Parasites
There are two types of parasites that are common in cats. These are Ectoparasites and Endoparasites.
The ectoparasites are parasites that live outside the body, usually on or in the skin or in the ears. The most common of in cats are fleas,ticks and mites.
Fleas can cause itching and dermatitis if contracted. Some cats are allergic to flea saliva and can get severe dermatitis from just one or two bites. Fleas are usually contracted from other animals or from the places that animal sleeps such as bedding. Fleas can be killed using spot on treatments that go on the skin of the cat such as advocate or broadline. One also needs to treat the house with a special spray to kill off eggs, larvae and pupae that will inhabit the house.
Ticks are relatively common in cats. A lot of outdoor cats will explore woodland, long grass and hedgerows where ticks may be present. Ticks will attach to the cat. They bite and secrete a local anaesthetic so the cat may not feel them. Ticks can be dangerous as they can carry tick borne diseases such as lyme disease. Spot ons such as broadline and bravecto will protect your cat from ticks.
Ear mites are common in kittens but can be seen at any age. They live in the ear and can cause inflammation and itching. The vet may be able to see them with an otoscope or may take a swab and look at it under the microscope. They can be treated with ear drops and can be prevented using advocate spot on.
Sarcoptic mange can be caused but sarcoptes mites is uncommon in cats. It causes very severe dermatitis and intense itching. We do see foxes with this condition around Dublin.
Advocate can help protect your cat from contracting the mites. If you suspect your cat may have mange it does need to see a vet as it can be a tricky condition to treat and we may need to do some investigations to diagnose it.
The most common endoparasites are intestinal worms such as roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm. These live in the body, usually within the stomach or intestines. There are also cyst type parasites called Giardia and Tritrichomonas that cats can also carry.
Endoparasites in cats can cause weight loss, ill thrift and diarrhoea. They are more commonly seen in kittens but any age cat can have worms. Cats that hunt need to be treated regularly with wormers as they are at higher risk. Drontal tablets or profender spot on will treat all the most common intestinal worms.
Giardia and Tritrichomonas are less common and most cats with these parasites will have diarrhoea. They can be detected using special tests of faecal samples and have specific treatments prescribed by your vet.
If you are unsure about whether your pet may have parasites, or would like some advice on what product to use, give us a call and we can help you out.