Article obtained from www.petshow.co.za , submitted by Kurt Schmitt
Cat parasites are a common occurrence, but usually not serious if treated in time. If left untreated, however, they may cause severe damage.
Here we'll discuss some of the more common feline parasites and associated warning signs. In some cases, these creatures may weaken your cat and expose her to possible secondary infections that could be life threatening.
Ear Mites in Cats - The most obvious sign of mites is a build up of dry, black wax that resembles coffee grounds. Ear mites are the most common cause of outer-ear inflammation in cats. Frequent head shaking and scratching of the ears are the most common symptoms.
Ear mites are tiny crab like parasites that, in extreme cases, can cause a rupture of the ear drum. They may lead to secondary infections, seizures and deafness. Ear mites need to be treated by a veterinarian since improper cleaning of the ear can make the condition worse and damage the ear.
Giardia - Giardia infection is relatively rare in otherwise healthy cats. Giardia is a single-celled parasite that causes an intestinal infection known as Giardiasis. The organism is protected by an outer shell, so it can survive outside the body for an extended period. It can be difficult to treat as it is often resistant to medications.
Your veterinarian will prescribe anti-parasitic drugs for the infection. Giardia may lead to bowel movements containing blood, acute diarrhea, and vomiting, so dehydration is obviously a danger with this condition.
Worms in Cats - Tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whip worms are some of the more common worm-type parasites that affect cats. Worms generally either swim in the intestines or latch on to the intestinal wall. They either feed on tissue and blood, or rob your cat of nutrients.
Worms can lead to a number of symptoms, including excessive vomiting and diarrhea, weight loss, constipation, and anemia. Left untreated, worms can cause serious illness or death, especially in elderly cats and kittens.
Testing for worms should be done at least once per year via stool sample. Treatment may involve multiple applications in order to eliminate the worms.
Fleas in Cats - Fleas feed on your cat's blood. In some cases, they may cause severe discomfort. Symptoms of flea infestation include itching, and your cat may be scratching or licking excessively.
Flea control is essential to controlling another cat parasite, the tapeworm. Fleas may ingest tapeworm eggs. In the process of grooming, your cat may ingest the flea, and therefore the tapeworm egg along with it.
Eliminating fleas requires treating both your cat and the environment she lives in, including eliminating the eggs.
Dehydration is common with cat parasites due to the excessive diarrhea and vomiting that may occur. If you suspect your cat has a parasite, contact your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.