Parasites and prevention

Whoever has cats will sooner or later have to deal with parasites. A parasite is an organism that feeds on its host. Most frequently they will not kill their host but can seriously weaken it.

Some parasites have a limited influence on their host, but others cause serious discomfort or illness. In addition to the risks for the cat itself, there is also a potential risk for transmission to humans. It is therefore essential that parasites are thoroughly and effectively controlled especially when living with small children. There are internal and external parasites (endo and ecto). Internal parasites nestle in the body of your cat. Common endoparasites are Toxoplasma gondii and worms. External parasites live in the coat or in the skin. Common ectoparasites are fleas, ticks and mites.

Many problems can be prevented by good hygiene and preventive measures, such as regular monitoring, cleaning sleeping place and pesticides. At Vetocambre we can recommend antiparasitic treatments adapted to the age and lifestyle of your cat. Contact us for more information and an appointment.

Toxoplasmosis.

The disease caused by this well-known single-cell parasite toxoplasma gondii, is called toxoplasmosis. It goes through various cycles during his life. Cats are the only animals that carry the adult form of the parasite. This means that toxoplasmosis only propagates in cats. The eggs are spread by the cat's feces. The parasite in the body spreads via blood and lymphatic fluid to other organs such as the heart, eyes and nervous system. Affected organs will die off without treatment. Healthy cats usually do not get many symptoms because of this parasite, but older or weaker ones do. Fever, reduced appetite, anxiety and eye problems are some common symptoms.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms and roundworms are the most common parasites found in cats. Tapeworms live in the small intestine of your cat. If your cat is infected you will find pieces of tapeworm around the anus. Tapeworms have a flat and white appearance and look a bit like rice grains. These segments of the tapeworm contain a lot of eggs. Your cat can spread these eggs throughout the house and end up in your floor covering, for example. Good hygiene is therefore very important.

The infection happens mostly thru fleas. The fleas in the coat of your cat multiply quickly. Tapeworms mix with the flea eggs and larvae. In the flea larvae this tapeworm egg is developing into a tapeworm larva. Once the flea eggs have been laid, it will take another 6 to 8 weeks until they hatch. Then they will jump on your cat, including the tapeworm larva. If there are no pets present, they jump on humans. You can recognize a flea bite from as spot on your legs, which are often very itchy. Therefore it is very important to tackle both tapeworms and fleas with the same treatment.

Roundworms

Roundworms are the most common internal parasites in cats. They live in the small intestine of your cat and can grow up to 18 cm long. An infection is difficult to notice because adult worms rarely occur in the feces or in the vomit. The eggs (about 200,000 per worm per day) are also not visible to the naked eye. These eggs are very resistant to temperature fluctuations and cleaning agents and they can remain contagious for months to years.

Most cats have to deal with it at a young age. Roundworms are not only transferred thru worm eggs in the stool of pets but also directly via mother cat to kittens. Kitten can be born with roundworms. Adult cats often show no symptoms in case of infection. Infected kittens often get diarrhea and a swollen belly, they are thin and often have growth retardation. A mother cat also easily gets infected via her kittens. You can prevent infection by regularly deworming both the mother and the kittens.