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Common external parasites in cats

In countries with changing seasons, it is always grateful to escape from the cold to welcome warmer seasons, such as spring and summer, but the presence of the sun may not be as beneficial for your cat, as it unleashes the activity of the parasites

Fleas and ticks They are the best known invaders of your cat’s fur, but unfortunately they are not the only ones. The detection and treatment of these unwanted guests are crucial to prevent diseases, so this article presents the types of external parasites in more common cats.

What are external parasites?

The RAE defines a parasite as “an organism that lives at the expense of another of different species, feeding on it and depaupering it without actually killing it” When we speak of external parasites of the cat, known as ectoparasites, we refer to small insects who live in the feline dermis feeding on his blood.

The presence of parasites causes discomfort in the host such as itching, pruritus, hair loss and may even transmit various intestinal diseases and parasites. Therefore, although the ectoparasite itself is not deadly to the cat, the bacteria, viruses or internal parasites that it can transmit can be lethal.

Despite this, external parasites that affect cats they are not difficult to eradicate. With a visit to the veterinarian this will indicate the necessary treatment, which usually consists of the application of a product for topical use and maybe some in pills, in addition to the hygiene measures that should be applied in the home.

External parasites in cats: fleas

Fleas are the most frequent ectoparasite in cats, especially the variety Ctenocephalides felis felis. The annoying thing about fleas is not so much the insect itself, which can be seen with the naked eye, especially in cats with light or short fur, but also there are larvae, pupae and eggs impossible to see that do not remain in the body of the animal, nesting in carpets, furniture and any dark and cozy place they find in the house.

Apart from scratching, the presence of fleas can be guessed at the scabs, the fur looks dirty at first sight or with reddish areas, consequence of the extraction of the feline’s blood. They are able to live up to 60 days, and the biggest drawback of them lies in their bite, through which they suck the feline’s blood, and that generates several health problems:

  • The flea bite can cause an allergic dermatitis in the cat, which produces enormous pain and itching, which can cause the cat to hurt itself. Also, if the cat scratches constantly, it can suffer a secondary infection from the first injury.
  • They can transmit a bacteria that contains endemic typhus.
  • Fleas can transmit internal parasites, as is the case with flatworms, for example tapeworms, known as Diplidium.

In addition, blood loss causes weakness and risk of anemia, aside from how desperate it is for the feline to feel the flea bite and the dozens of them walking through his body.

Remember that eliminating fleas from cats is not especially complicated. Simply apply the treatment recommended by the veterinarian (usually a bath with an anti-parasite shampoo) and then apply a repellent (in pipette, necklace or spray) to finish with those that have resisted in the dermis of your cat and that prevents the appearance of other new fleas that can remain in your home.

External parasites in cats: lice

The lice They are very common parasites in humans, but also in cats, specifically those belonging to the family Felicola subrostrata. It is important to note that the presence of lice is unusual in domestic cats and usually affects those cats that are immunosuppressed or that are in a poor hygienic state.

The cat louse is not very contagious (it does not survive more than 1 or 2 days outside the host) and does not represent a danger for humans, so it is usual for the cat to acquire it outside, in places where this parasite nest

We can detect the presence of lice by the appearance of whitish eggs very attached to the fur of the animal, which we must remove with a brush for lice or fleas. Fleas can cause:

  • Itching, eczema, seborrhea and hair loss.
  • They can cause pediculosis, a skin condition when there is a large infestation.
  • Wounds with pustules that can cause a secondary infection.
  • They could also transmit intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms Diplidium.

External parasites in cats: ticks

The ticks They are the largest mite that feeds on the blood of their guests. Their presence is especially worrying, as they can transmit a large number of diseases, as well as weaken our cat. There is a greater risk of infection in hot times.

They can live from 2 to 6 years at most and their transmission is rarely carried out through the contact of one cat with the other, most often they adhere abroad, between the plants, where the parasite takes refuge waiting for a body to invade.

The ticks are easy to detect at a glance, especially if they have been feeding. Maybe in cats with long hair it is a little harder to appreciate, but maybe when you caress your feline you will find an abnormal ball to the touch, and when you remove the strands you will discover the tick. You are more likely to find them in the head and legs, especially between the little fingers.

There are many diseases that can transmit a tick, here we explain the main and most common:

  • Transmission of the bacteria Ehrlichia spp, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and A. platys.
  • Protozoon transmission Babesia spp, which affects red blood cells.
  • Lyme disease, caused by the bacteria Borrelia burdogferi.
  • Protozoon transmission Hepatozoon canis (mainly affects dogs).
  • Anemia, as a consequence of blood loss in large infestations.
  • Body paralysis, produced by ticks Dermacentor andersoni y Dermacentor variabilis.

For remove ticks We recommend cleaning the area where you are with alcohol or oil, in this way we will numb the insect and it will be easier to remove it. We recommend using a specific tweezer to remove ticks, but in its absence we will use a normal tweezer, turning the tick on itself until it comes out completely.

Remember that if you are too rough and do not turn the tick mouth appliance it could remain on the cat’s skin, causing an inflammatory nodule and, later, an infection. After removing it, we should wash the wound and disinfect it with iodine.

External parasites in cats: mites

The mites They include a group of arachnids that spread different types of scabies, depending on the variety in question. The mite nests in the lower layers of the skin, where it is responsible for “Dig” furrows on the skin of the cat to reproduce.

In cats, this parasite invades mostly the legs, neck, ears and head, causing a pretty intense purito, which results in scabs when the cat scratches, in addition to causing hair loss and inflammation, which gives the skin a reddish appearance, almost as if it were raw, which characterizes scabies.

different scabies types that can transmit the mites of cats:

  • La scabies otodecta, which usually ends up causing secondary otitis.
  • La sarcoptic mange It is caused by several types of mites. These mites are naturally present in the skin of the cat, but can carry out an infestation in immunosuppressed animals and can be spread from mother to young. It is usually observed on the face and ears and is common in puppies. It can affect people and it is very contagious.

Although the spread between animals of the same species is high, it only occurs when the contact is direct, that is, if the cats spend a lot of time together and share things like toys and food and drink containers, for example.

External parasites in cats: borer worms

The flies they are very dangerous for a cat that has an open wound, because they deposit their eggs there that later become borer worms, who are responsible for the phone calls or myiasis.

In just a few days the eggs can become dozens of larvae, reaching even hundreds, which will infect the wound and eat the cat’s flesh, further spreading the infection and endangering his life.

External parasites in cats: fungi

There are some fungi, such as Trichophyton, which act as cat parasites (although not specifically insects), and among them are the culprits of ringworm. Ringworm (dermatophytosis) is a Skin illness that affects cats and that is recognized with relative ease. It should be noted that it is transmitted to the human being.

A cat that suffers from ringworm will show areas of its skin without fur, a bright red color in which the dermis seems to come off. It spreads easily, although it usually only affects young cats or those who are sick.

Your cat can get it if it has contact with another feline to transport this fungus, if you use the objects of a sick animal or even if you let it out of the house and like to play in dirty places, where the fungus that causes this infection may be asleep.

What to do if my cat has external parasites?

First, understand that all these invaders are easily eliminated, with products that are easy to get and after a quick consult your veterinarian. It is not necessary to despise the cat just because it has fleas or ticks, as many uninformed people fearful of catching these parasites, without knowing that those that affect humans belong mostly to other varieties of these species.

The veterinarian will recommend the most suitable product according to the level of infestation and the type of ectoparasite. There are many options: pipettes, powders, sprays, collars, shampoos and pills. In addition, combs and brushes for fleas and lice are also effective. If there is any disease caused by small insects, it will be necessary to treat it immediately.

Before any of these parasites it is necessary to treat the environment. Furniture, carpets and any upholstery fabric should be vacuumed, apart from using a product recommended by the veterinarian to help eliminate eggs and larvae, as well as repelling new invaders, without compromising the health of pets.

Similarly, the other pets of the household must be submitted to a preventive treatment if they have not yet been infected. Ensure that all animals are properly vaccinated, to protect them from the diseases that transmit the parasites already mentioned. Following these indications you will be able to finish with those annoying bugs in a very short time.

This article is merely informative, in .com we do not have the faculty to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Common external parasites in cats, we recommend that you enter in our Deworming section.

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