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Parasites: types, prevention and treatment

From a very young age, as early as two to three weeks old, cats need deworming and defleaing – getting rid of various types of bacteria, larvae, fleas and lice in their digestive system or off their fur to prevent them from entering their body.

These germs, which can threaten or harm your cat’s life, may be picked up through pregnancy, nursing, intake of raw food or flea bites.

It is of utmost importance to remain vigilant with such parasites because many of them can attack humans, too. For example, the protozoa that cause taxoplasmosis can seriously harm pregnant women.

Types of parasites 

Depending on the type of habitat in which they develop, there are two categories of feline parasites:

External parasites

They live in the hair, ears, eyes and skin. The most common are

  • Mites: they usually produce a very irritating itch that attacks the ears.
  • Feline flea: be very careful with them, as they can easily move onto a human’s body.
  • Ticks: they can also attack humans. They are common, particularly in rural areas.
  • Dermatophyte fungi: cats that have lived on the street often have wounds caused by such parasites.

Internal parasites

They inhabit the digestive tract, particularly the intestines. Tapeworms and roundwormsare the most common internal parasites.

Treatment and frequency

There is no fixed schedule for defleaing and deworming; it is the veterinarian who will set the pace according to your kitten's weight and lifestyle. Generally, the first deworming session is repeated 15 days later. The protection must then be reinforced once a month until your cat is six months old; and from that point onwards, every three months for cats that spend time outdoors and every six months for cats that live indoors.

For both internal and external parasites, deworming and defleaing treatment can be injected or administered orally in the form of pills or drops.

Prevention

To prevent parasites, there are specific insecticide lotions and sprays for uninvited guests like mites or fleas. Some people prefer a natural remedy: diatomaceous earth (fossilized algae). And there are solutions for both problems. Cats can "communicate" through their behaviour. Before obvious symptoms like cramps, breathing difficulties, pain or diarrhea appear, we may begin to suspect the early presence of a certain pathology due to behavioural changes, especially if your cat stops eating and appears to be lethargic and weak, or conversely, unusually agitated or tending to hide away. Cats’ eyes are unique in that they reflect different types of viral diseases in the form of scabs, irritation, inflammation or ulcers. If a third eyelid shows up, it is not a good sign. If cats stop taking care of their fur, it is also a warning; you will have to watch closely to figure out the source of any possible illness.

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