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  • What are the Types of Parasitic Diseases Affecting Cats?

    Owning a cat is a hugely pleasurable experience, as they can be wonderful companions to us humans. However, their health is a constant concern for us humans, as cats are especially susceptible to parasitic diseases in comparison to other animals. Although parasites are common in cats, they can seriously jeopardize your cat’s health and wellbeing—in some cases they can even lead to death if left untreated. In this article, we’ll go over the basic and most common parasites found in cats and how you can prevent them from occurring in your own cat.

    Most common types of parasites in cats

    Some of the more pervasive, invasive, and common parasitic diseases that affect cats are gastrointestinal by nature. These types of parasites are usually grouped into “worm” categories, as they generally take the form of a worm-like creature that invades your pet internally. These are the most common and dangerous parasitic diseases found in cats that you should be aware of:

    • Roundworms
    • Hookworms
    • Tapeworms
    • Heartworms
    • Lungworms

    Some of these diseases are much easier to treat than others, and they can range widely in severity. Furthermore, it is more common for kittens to have worms, as they have not been vaccinated yet or have been treated by a veterinarian. Most cats have a parasite at some point in their life, as it’s just the nature of their being. However, it is important to do whatever you can as a pet owner to keep gastrointestinal parasites at bay.

    Other common types of parasites

    Besides gastrointestinal parasites, other parasites live externally on your cat’s body, which can especially be a nuisance to us humans. These are the two most common parasites found in pet fur and skin:

    • Fleas
    • Ticks

    Fleas and ticks also pose a danger to humans, so it’s important to ask your trusted vet about how to preventively treat such parasites before they invade your home.

    Signs in your cat’s behavior to look out for

    If your pet is plagued with a parasite, you’ll certainly notice some changes in their behavior. These are the most commonly-noticed shifts in cat behavior that alerts owners to have them checked out by a vet right away:

    • Changes in appetite
    • Changes in behavior
    • Increased water consumption
    • Visible parasites in stools

    Behavioral changes can also be attributed to other health conditions or decreased pet mood, such as pet depression. It’s best to have your vet examine your cat and analyze a stool sample to rule-out parasites as the primary cause of your cat’s symptoms.

    Preventive measures to prevent parasites

    The best way to keep your cat free from parasites is to follow a preventive care routine. Most vets are proactive about cat health when it comes to preventing parasites, as they are highly common in cats, especially during the first year of the cat’s life. Here are some guidelines to follow to help keep your cat free of parasites:

    • Bring your cat to regular, annual exams
    • Be sure to de-worm new kittens when brought into the household
    • Ask your vet about heartworm, flea, and tick preventive medications
    • Conduct tests for heartworm
    • Follow your vet’s recommended preventive care measures such as vaccinations
    • Do not feed your cat raw meats
    • Make sure your cat’s water is always fresh and clean

    It is critical to bring any new kittens to the vet immediately to establish a parasite preventive care routine, and don’t be alarmed if your kitten already has parasites when you get him or her—this is a common occurrence. Most parasitic diseases are treatable with medications, but young kittens are especially susceptible to dying from parasitic diseases like heartworms, so it’s important to get them checked out immediately.

    Here at Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency, we have treated parasitic diseases in cats from all over the areas of Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, and the greater Ventura County, CA, area. Parasites are highly common in cats, and we make it our goal to establish preventive care routines with all of our cat owner clients. If you’ve recently adopted a new kitten or suspect your cat has a parasite, please do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a check-up. Your pet’s health is of the utmost importance to us, and we’ll treat them as if they were part of our own family.

    posted on August 7, 2018 at 10:58 am by Doctor Ron