Caution: Parasites! Sparing the cat from pests.
Parasites are not only a pest – they can make life hell for a cat or a dog. This is because they cause severe itching or even trigger an allergy, such as from flea bites. So it’s a good thing to protect your house pet from these pests, and yourself too, as some parasites migrate to humans.
Parasites: the house pet plague
What parasites are there that can plague cats and dogs? Answer: all sorts. Ticks, worms,parasites can all harm a dog. In most cases humans can’t see these pests with the naked eye. They first notice that something’s amiss with their pet when it’s already showing a reaction to the infestation.
There is no prevention against internal parasites
Basically, we differentiate between external and internal parasites. The dog can be safeguarded against the former, but not against the latter. Worms, which your canine companion can pick up from nosing around outside, and protozoa are among the internal parasites. The malicious thing about worms, which can be hookworm, whipworm, tapeworm or lungworm, is that they don’t harm the animal until the infestation is massive. You can protect your pet only through regular worming medication. It’s especially those animals which ingest a lot outdoors or catch mice that should be “wormed” every quarter year as any fox tapeworms they might eat can be transmitted to humans. If you’re unsure whether medication is necessary, you can also have a stool sample examined for worm infestation. Giardia is an example of the protozoa parasite. These intestinal parasites can be picked up by a cat or dog when they drink from a puddle, for instance. The consequence can be severe diarrhoea which must be treated by the vet.
There is protection against external parasites
The good news: you can take preventative measures to safeguard your pet against external parasites. There are agents against fleas, mites, lice and ticks which keep the pests at bay when regularly applied. The right tick protection is particularly important as these blood suckers can transmit dangerous diseases such as borreliosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. The simplest to handle are Spot-On preparations which are tricked onto the neck and are effective for up to four weeks. But never use a product on your cat which is intended for dogs, this could be life-threatening for your moggie. Neck bands or sprays are also on offer. Most Spot-Ons, neck bands or sprays also help against fleas. These are not uncommon and humans are not immune from transmission. Fleas can make your pet’s life very difficult: the flea’s saliva can trigger allergies. If your dog or cat has fleas then it’s not enough just to treat them with a counter agent, the whole environment including covers and baskets must be thoroughly debugged. Mites, on the other hand, can trigger skin diseases such as demodicosis, mange or ear mite infestation. If your pet has mites, only medication prescribed by the vet will help.
The right way to remove ticks from cats and dogs
Your best defence against ticks is prevention and checking your pet regularly. If your cat or dog does get a tick, the vets from the Maxi Zoo specialist retail chain recommend the following:
- Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible with a pair of tick tweezers, tick remover card or forceps
- Gently pull the tick out in one, steady upwards movement.
- Avoid squeezing, crushing or puncturing the body of the tick, otherwise the insect will release its pathogenic stomach contents into the wound.
- Never use glue, oil or anything similar to remove a tick as again, it will release pathogens into the wound.
Take your pet to the vet immediately if the head of the tick remains stuck in the skin, the wound become infected or symptoms appear.
Call into your local store today to discuss your cat’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts