Flea and Tick For Cats - Get Information and Treatment

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, including:

  • Skin irritation
  • Itching
  • Rashes & Skin Infections
  • Transmission of disease and illness
  • Anemia

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. 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 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. Lyme and Rocky mountain Spotted Fever are just a few of the diseases transmitted by ticks. The plague and cat scratch fever can be transmitted by fleas.

This is why flea and tick prevention is important for every cat. Prevention helps reduce the risk of exposure to both your cat and your home.

Flea And Tick Prevention For Cats

At Advanced Animal Care 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 pet'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.

Signs That Your Cat May Have A Flea Or Tick Infestation

  • Visible fleas or ticks
  • Scratching
  • Red or irritated skin
  • Scabs and/or flakes
  • Excessive grooming

Common Cat Flea And Tick Treatments

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. Some common cat flea treatment methods 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.
  • Cat Flea Collars, Powders and Sprays: We do not recommend the use of flea collars, powders or sprays. While these products were the mainstay of flea control in past years, they are more toxic and less effect than the products we currently recommend.

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: (859) 202-3641. 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.

Finding And Treating 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. We recommend tick products for cats on a case by case basis.

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 bring your cat in so we can show you the safest way to remove the tick and help formulate a plan to avoid ticks going forward. The various methods for treating ticks on cats include:

  • Spot-On Treatments
  • Oral medication
  • Tick Collars

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.

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.

Link to EPA webpage article from AVMA.org

Featured Quote:

The biggest thing is you want to make sure that you dip the head.

Video Transcript:

Hi I'm Dr. Cara Hill I'm an associate veterinarian here at Advanced Animal Care and we're going to talk about some flea and tick questions.

Tell us the most common questions you get when it comes to fleas and ticks.

The most common thing that owners ask me when it comes to flea and ticks is that, "Hey doc, I can just treat in the summer right? Because, that's when they're present."

And believe it or not here in Kentucky we - I'm sure, as you all know - we don't get cold enough winters. We have 70 degree days in December. We had plenty of rain this last winter, so we generally don't get a cold enough, hard enough freeze to really kill out the flea population.

So, we do recommend staying on a flea preventative year round. And ticks believe it or not actually, even with a cold, hard winter they kind of, hibernate or go a little dormant, but they can also be active during the cold weather. They're just not as active so those guys can actually be around 12 months out of the year.

This past January we had a cat that we pulled over 20 ticks off of.

What health problems can fleas and ticks cause in my animal?

Actually cause anemia, which is some red blood cell or decreased red blood cell count. They feed on blood that is their food source, so if there's enough of them they can actually deplete your dog or cat of some of the blood that it needs, which can be life threatening at times. Especially depending on the size of your animal.

But one flea itself can actually lay up to 50 eggs a day. So, if you've got five fleas, you've got 250 eggs being laid in your house each day and those eggs are living in your bed, on your pillow, in your couch, your curtains, places like that.

So, it can get real out of hand really fast. But they can also cause what we call flea allergy dermatitis on your pet, which is where they get a severe allergic skin reaction to the flea bite itself and the flea saliva. And a lot of pets end up needing antibiotics. Sometimes even things like steroids or something to help with the itching.

Are there any common tick born diseases in this area?

There are two major ones that we're seeing. Those include Lyme disease, which most people are familiar with. There's actually, surprisingly a lot of people that know somebody who's had Lyme disease as well as Ehrlichia or Ehrlichiosis and the third one that's kind of, starting to move into our region, we primarily saw it in the Northeastern United States, but it's kind of, working it's way down is called Anaplasmosis.

And these are all bacteria. Primarily bacterial diseases that are carried and transmitted by ticks. You can't get them from your dog unless the tick that bites your dog also happens to bite you. So, they're not contagious if your pet were to happen to contract them, but they can cause some serious complications if left untreated.

We do have a tick born disease test that's also combined with our heartworm test that tests for those three popular diseases. Lyme disease, Ehrlichia and Anaplasmosis and they actually do make a vaccine for Lyme disease.

We always recommend that if you're an outdoorsy type and you take your pets hiking or camping with you regularly, for pets living on a farm [inaudible] have a lot of acreage it might be having higher exposure to ticks we would definitely recommend being vaccinated for Lyme disease.

The most common symptoms with these diseases is going to be polyarthritis meaning that they tend to get an inflammatory arthritis of multiple joints.

The most common complaint we get from owners is their dog was kind of off walking a little sore one day, got better a couple of days later and then maybe, a month later a different leg was kind of, off acting a little sore, got better a couple of days later.

That's the most common symptom that we see. So, when we hear that we always recommend testing for these diseases, but some of them can even get pretty life threatening with respiratory depression, sometimes some central nervous system signs like seizures, things like that.

Or they can affect the red blood cells and white blood cells, and platelets. So, we always recommend testing for them, because if we catch them we can always manage them and get your pet in a healthier place.

How are fleas and ticks treated?

Our biggest recommendation to treat fleas and ticks is to actually put them on a prevention. So, the number one prevention that we like to carry here is Bravecto and Simparica. They're part of the newest drug class on the market.

They're incredibly effective, they kill fleas and ticks within 12 hours of them getting on your pet and all of our clients that start on these products are always super, super happy with them, they tend to go oral or topically sometimes.

And so, pets tend to enjoy them too. They taste like a little treat, but they tend to do much better than some of the products that have been on the market for quite some time, or some of the over the counter markets that you can get at your local grocery store or pet supply store.

Just because we're starting to see some resistance to the compounds that are in those products and so, our first recommendation is to get a flea and tick preventative from your veterinarian.

What is the best way to remove a tick from my cat or dog if I notice one?

I think the safest recommendation, at least the recommendation that I make to my owners and patients is to get a little bit of isopropyl alcohol or a rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab and try to rub the area. The ticks tend to not like isopropyl or rubbing alcohol.

Once you get it off you can actually put them in a little cup of it and it'll kill them. So, sometimes they'll remove on their own if you dab them with a little bit of rubbing alcohol. Sometimes the next step would be maybe using a pair of tweezers or something like that.

The biggest thing is you want to make sure that you dip the head. So, if you're concerned about removing a tick from your dog don't hesitate to give us a call, we're happy to take them off for you.

Schedule An Appointment To Properly Address Cat Fleas And Ticks

To ensure that your cat is protected against these pesky parasites, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Our veterinarians and support staff have extensive experience in both prevention and treatment, and we are here to help.

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