The Dangers Of Fleas And Ticks For Cats
Of all the pesky nuisances out there your cat might face, fleas and ticks are two of the most troublesome. For cats, fleas and ticks pose a variety of potential health issues. Many people believe that indoor cats are somehow immune to fleas and ticks, but this is not true. Fleas and ticks can enter homes on visiting pets and people's clothes. Fleas and ticks will seek out your cat to feed and live. Once a flea is on your cat, it stays on your cat and will produce 30-50 eggs within 24 hours. These eggs are the consistency of sand and will fall off the cat, land in the carpet or bedding and become an adult flea in 14 to 365 days depending upon the environmental conditions. It is easy to understand how the house can become quickly infested with fleas.
Depending upon the stage of the tick (eggs, larvae, nymph and adult), it will feed and either climb off the cat for the next moult (moulting is how ticks move from one stage of development into the next stage) or if at adult stage, the tick will produce eggs that can contaminate the house. Ticks primarily transmit disease in the nymph and adult stages. If your cat is not on a preventative or adulticide (product to kill fleas and ticks), it is possible for cat and possibly your home to develop a serious infestation within just a few short weeks.
If not prevented or treated, fleas and ticks can cause a variety of potential health issues for cat, including:
- Visible fleas or ticks
- Skin irritation
- Rashes & Skin Infections
- Scabs and/or flakes
- Excessive grooming
Another danger of fleas and ticks for cats is infestation of the home and possible transmission of disease to humans through sharing a living space. This is why it is critical that you are aware of the health dangers that fleas and ticks can pose. It is important that you take measures to reduce the risk of an infestation. WIth the right plan and products, flea and tick infestation is easily preventable. Our veterinarians are here to help you develop a flea and tick prevention program that will best suit your needs and lifestyle.
How To Identify Ticks On Cats
Ticks on cats are not as common as ticks on dogs because of grooming habits and lifestyle. However, cats can get ticks and they can become a health issue if left untreated. Ticks feed on the blood of the host, and use tiny but sharp teeth to embed themselves firmly into the skin and soft tissue of cats. Because they penetrate into the bloodstream, ticks can also spread blood-borne illnesses. The adult tick is about 3mm and is visible to most. The larvae and nymph are about half that size and difficult to identify.
Ticks on cats cause welts and bruises around the area being fed on. It is also common to find the tick still attached. If you find a tick on your cat, please contact us to tell you the safest way to remove the tick and help formulate a plan to avoid ticks going forward.
We strongly recommend consulting your veterinarian immediately if your cat has ticks. Although there are various remedies to treat ticks on cats, it is essential to make sure the method you choose is safe, effective and clinically proven.
How To Identify Fleas On Cats
Fleas are very itchy and annoying and will primarily cause your cat to scratch. If your cat is allergic to flea saliva, the itch can be insatiable. Too much scratching can lead to skin infections, and fleas on cats can possibly lead to the spread of various diseases. Fleas can be difficult to detect, because they are only about 1-2 millimeters in length, but there are several ways to check for fleas on your cat, including:
- Looking for red, irritated skin on your cat's neck, belly or hindquarters
- Comb your cat's hair from back to front for a good look at his or her skin. Flea combs are available at pet stores, but really any fine-toothed comb will do
- The fleas may appear red or brown in color
- If you see a speck that is moving, it's probably a flea
Flea And Tick Prevention For Cats
At Veterinary Village when it comes to fleas and ticks, our primary focus is on prevention. Prevention is important because it stops a serious problem before it starts. If you are starting to notice signs and symptoms of fleas and ticks, that indicates that you are already dealing with an infestation. It is best to not reach that stage. With good education and the right prevention products you can easily avoid a flea and tick infestations. A proactive approach to flea and tick prevention starts with a discussion about various factors that play a role in your cat's potential exposure to fleas and ticks. For example, if your cats are indoor/outdoor is a factor, as well as whether they are exposed to other animals that go outside (including pets of friends or family that may come over for a visit).
It is important to be aware that there are numerous products on the market that our veterinarians would strongly suggest you avoid. Every year, our veterinarians review all available flea and tick products to ensure that our recommendations are as up to date as possible. Our considerations include safety, effectiveness and cost. Based on these factors we will work with you to customize a parasite prevention plan for your pets and family.
Common Cat Flea And Tick Treatments
Many years ago, flea collars, sprays, powders and shampoos were the maintainstay of flea control. These products are more toxic and less effective than the majority of products we now recommend. For this reason, we do not recommend any of these products. However, medicated shampoos can be very helpful in treating the secondary skin infections that your cat may have developed due to flea infestation.
There are many different cat flea treatment products on the market. This includes a plethora of remedies involving substances that have no medical validity where fleas and ticks for cats are concerned. Our Veterinarians would strongly recommend against numerous over the counter flea and tick treatments.
Today, the recommended flea and tick treatments for dogs include:
- Oral Tablets: These are a great choice for both prevention and treatment of fleas and ticks, while being safe for both your cat and your family. Oral tablets that treat fleas and ticks can only be obtained from your veterinarian.
- Spot-On Flea Treatments: There are many different spot-on flea treatments with varying effectiveness and different spectrums of use. At your next veterinary appointment we will help you choose the most effective spot-on flea and tick treatment for your cat.
We choose the products based upon safety and efficacy. However, as with any new medication or product there is a possibility of adverse reaction. If you notice any discomfort or behavioral changes after administering or applying, please call us at: (920) 269-4072. It is essential to discuss cat flea treatment options with your veterinarian, in order to ensure the method you choose will be safe and effective for your feline friend.
Some dog products are lethal to cats so please make sure you are using a product specifically made for cats.
What You Should Know About Cat Flea Prevention/Treatment
There are many different remedies and methods out there for treating fleas and ticks on cats, and there are also various over-the-counter cat flea medicine options on the market today. The rapid influx of so many untested cat flea medicine brands in the early 2000's, and specifically spot-on treatments, led the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a warning in 2010 about possible toxic reactions to cat flea medicine. This resulted from an increase in cat fatalities attributed to the inappropriate use of some products.
To read more you can visit EPA webpage article from AVMA.org
As with any medication, there is some risk of adverse reaction to flea and tick treatment. These risks are extremely small. However, should you notice any symptoms or behavior changes, please call us. Our veterinarians would be happy to share with you their recommendations for the best flea and treatments for your cat at your next appointment.
Schedule An Appointment To Properly Address Cat Fleas And Ticks
If you suspect your dog is suffering from the effects of fleas and ticks, we recommend scheduling a veterinary appointment immediately. Our veterinarians and support staff have extensive experience treating fleas and ticks for dogs. We know flea and tick infestations can be frightening and overwhelming, but we assure you they are treatable.