Cat Guide Index

Parasites Previous Next

Internal Parasites:

    Roundworms     Tapeworms

External Parasites:

    Fleas     Lice
    Ticks     Ear Mites


Kittens invariably have roundworms and should be wormed at regular intervals, as advised by your Veterinary Surgeon.

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The tapeworm needs an intermediate host in the life cycle, which means that, unlike roundworms, tapeworms cannot be passed direct from one cat to another. One common tapeworm of the cat has the flea or louse as its intermediate host, although if your cat enjoys hunting small rodents, another variety of tapeworm can be acquired.

If your cat has fleas, look out for tapeworm segments in the cat's motions or for dried up segments stuck to the fur, looking like grains of rice. If you see them, ask your local Veterinary Surgeon for the most effective treatment. Pet shop remedies are not as good.

Additionally if you see tapeworm segments, have a good look for fleas, as there is little point in giving tapeworm tablets unless you eliminate the source of the infestation.

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Because of central heating and fitted carpets, fleas may now be a problem at any time of the year and the home has become a potent source of reinfestation.

Fleas are difficult to find unless they are in large numbers. They are not a sign of a dirty or neglected pet, but just bad luck. You have the best chance of finding the flea droppings when grooming - black specks which, if put onto damp white paper, will produce a reddish brown stain and can thus be differentiated from soil particles.

There are now very safe, long acting insecticides available through your Veterinary Surgeon. So, if you find fleas, ask for a suitable product and they will advise you how it should be used.

WARNING: NEVER spray your cat with any treatment from a pressurized can near any type of heat such as a cooker, open fire etc. This can have tragic consequences for your pet. Always spray your cat outdoors in a well aired open area or indoors away from any type of heat, even a closed oven that is being used can cause a cat's fur to set alight. Nowadays it is not necessary to use pressurized cans for Flea treatment, an injection given by your Veterinary Surgeon will do the job much more efficiently and last a lot longer.

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Lice may be a problem in the occasional kitten but are not all that common.

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Ticks are usually found around the head and neck during the summer months and need not give much cause for concern, as when they have had their fill of blood they will drop off of their own accord. The main danger arises from the owner trying to remove them, as the mouthparts may be left in the skin with a risk that the wound will become infected. Your Veterinary Surgeon will assist you if you are concerned.

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 Ear Mites

These are a common parasite and are found in the ear canal of both cats and dogs. Infestations can be complicated by secondary bacterial or fungal infections and, without thorough examination, one cannot be certain that an infection is not present. It is therefore essential to seek Veterinary advice.

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