Parasite Prevention for Cats

Our feline family members are experts at hiding pain, disease, and unwanted hitchhikers! While cats aren’t as susceptible to the parasite-borne diseases as dogs, parasites still rob the body of nutrients while causing discomfort and pain for our little ones.

Fortunately, by protecting our kitties, we can help them live their healthiest and happiest lives while also protecting the rest of the family from the parasites they may carry.

These parasites are here in London:

These are the parasites that we are concerned about in our area. Preventative products are available, but they’re not one-size-fits-all.

Your veterinarian can work with you to create your pet’s personalized prevention plan, taking into account their medical history, the other pets in the household, and their risk factors. We’ll help you find the best product, or combinations of products, to keep your little one safe.

 

Parasite: Transmitted by: Risk: Who is affected?
Heartworm Infected mosquitos Lives in and around the heart, causing heart failure and damage to other organs

Dogs (can be fatal if untreated)

Note: Rare in cats, but risk is increasing

Intestinal worms (hookworm, roundworm, whipworm)

Ingesting the eggs containing larvae

(Often through consuming infected feces)

They rob the body of nutrients causing GI symptoms, anaemia and even death.

Dogs, cats

Note: Can be transmitted to humans

Fleas Other animals/ picked up outside or in infested areas (ex. apartments) Extreme discomfort from bites, anaemia. Can also carry intestinal parasites (ex. tapeworm).

Cats, Dogs

Note: Will bite humans

Ticks
(Most commonly the American Dog Tick, Blacklegged/deer tick, Lonestar tick, Brown dog/wood tick, and Gulf Coast tick)

Picked up outside or in infested areas, burrows in skin to feed where it can then transmit disease

Depending on the species of tick:
– Lyme disease (lameness, pain in joints)
– Ehrlichiosis (Fever, weight loss, respiratory distress)
– Anaplasmosis (joint pain, fever, lethargy)

Dogs

Cats can carry ticks but have a very low risk of developing tick-borne diseases

Mange
(Sarcoptic Mange/ scabies,
Demodectic Mange/ red mange/ demodex)
Skin disease caused by mites. Picked up from other animals/infested areas Extreme itchiness, rash, infection, hair loss

Dogs, cats

Note: some forms are transmissible to humans

Q: Why is seasonal parasite prevention important?

A: Most parasites tend to lay dormant in the cold weather and become active during the warmer months. These parasites then look for hosts, and will rob cats’ bodies of nutrients, leading to pain and discomfort. In some cases they can even be fatal.

There are many types of parasites and different products protect against different parasites. Talk to your veterinarian or a veterinary technician to determine which product is best for your cat’s lifestyle and risk factors.

Q: My cat hardly, or never, goes outdoors. Should they still receive parasite prevention?

Yes. Ticks can hitch a ride indoors on other members of the family and one kind can even live in your baseboards. Additionally, fleas and other parasites can actually infest indoor areas, especially apartments and shared buildings.

Q: When can my kitten have parasite prevention?

Most products are designed for kittens over eight weeks of age. However, with growing pets, we recommend that they come in monthly to be weighed so that we know we are giving them the correct dosage for their size. We will dispense their prescriptions month-to-month based on their weights.

Q: Does my cat need a heartworm (4DX) test?

A: No. Cats should be on parasite prevention for their wellbeing as well as their families’, however, they are significantly less likely to contract heartworm or tick-borne diseases themselves so they typically do not undergo parasite screening.

Q: Which products are available for parasite prevention?

A: For cats, we typically recommend Revolution Plus, a topical treatment that is applied between the shoulder blades. It protects against fleas and internal parasites, in addition to heartworm and many types of ticks.

If you have multiple cats or other pets in the household, they will all need to be on prevention in order for the products to be effective at keeping parasites out of the home.

We also stock Bravecto, Capstar, Profender, Milbemax, and Advantage.

As always, a veterinarian is the best source of information and may have other recommendations based on your pet’s needs.

Q: How much are these products?

For most, the prices vary quite a bit by weight category. Bigger Pet = Bigger Price.

If you have an idea of what your pet’s weight is, we can help you find the corresponding cost, but for cats, it would typically be between $20-30 per month.

Most products are packaged to cover a 6 month treatment window with treatments being given once monthly. For each product, you usually have the option to buy one month’s treatment at a time instead of buying the whole 6 month supply. The cost works out to be the same per treatment, however, there is a $5 dispensing fee every time. Therefore there is better value to buy enough for the season (9-6 months) or year (12 months) and only pay the dispensing fee once.

Q: I think my cat has fleas. What should I do?

The first step is to make an appointment with your veterinarian to confirm the presence of fleas and to rule out skin diseases, allergies, or other causes with similar presentations.

If your cat does have fleas, you will need at least three months of parasite prevention to break the fleas’ life cycle. You will also need to treat any other pets in the house for the treatment to be effective. Fortunately, it starts working right away, and the treatment is shed in the pets’ dander, eliminating fleas from carpets, bedding, and other frequently visited areas.

Due to the resiliency of these parasites, it is best practice to be on prevention throughout the warmer months (at least June-November) but you may wish to consider year-round prevention as well.

Q: Why do I need to pay for an examination to buy these products?

A: These are prescription medications, and just like any prescription, a veterinarian must ensure that the patient is in good enough health to receive them. For efficacy and your pet’s safety, they will also determine the best type of medication and dosage.

However, if your pet has had an examination in the last year (and is in good health and not growing/changing weight), your veterinarian may use their discretion to dispense the prescription without another examination. They may also request a recent weigh-in before dispensing to ensure your furry family member is receiving the most effective dose.

Q: What are the differences between the products my veterinarian carries and the ones in the pet store/online?

A: Pet store preventative products are not recommended as they are not as safe as the medications available through your veterinarian. The risks may vary. Some products have caused extreme reactions and chemical burns, while others may be dangerous and even fatal for other pets in your household.

Additionally, many convincing knock-off brands are available online that look almost identical to the brands available through your veterinarian, but may not be licensed for use in Canada or may contain different ingredients altogether. The products that your veterinarian sources have been rigorously tested and provide guarantees of effectiveness when used properly. This level of support and safety cannot be matched by retail stores and online pharmacies.

As always, though, we are your partner in your furry family member’s care. If you choose to use any pet store or knock-off versions (or even any prescription prevention that has not been prescribed specifically for your cat this season – ex. for another pet or from a previous year), we strongly encourage you to let us know before use so that we may record it in your pet’s medical records and be prepared for any adverse reactions.

Parasite prevention is not one-size-fits all. There are many considerations to be made including your cat’s medical history, the other pets in your household, and which species of parasites they are most likely to encounter. For the safest and most effective prevention, your veterinarian is always your best resource.

Q: I found a tick on my cat. What should I do?

A: While tick-borne diseases are very rare in cats, we don’t want ticks entering the home where they can affect other family members. In severe cases, though, ticks can lead to anaemia in cats through blood loss. If you are not comfortable removing the tick on your own then a veterinary technician can assist you.

The tick should be removed by grasping it near the head with a pair of tweezers and with steady even upward pressure, withdrawing the mouth parts from where they are buried in the skin. We have a special tick removal tool available for this purpose. Remember to wash your hands afterwards, and if you must use your bare hands, always wear gloves.

It is important to get the whole tick out and to monitor the site for any signs of irritation or infection afterward, then contact your veterinarian for next steps. The removed tick should be disposed of as soon as possible to reduce the likelihood of transmitting disease. Alternatively, you may wish to preserve the tick in rubbing alcohol and bring it to us to identify the species of tick and the associated risks.

If you have any questions about your cat’s parasite prevention plan, or if you’re ready to protect your pet this season, we’re here to help!

Contact Us

Phone: 519-649-0080
Email: parkranger@neighbourhoodpetclinic.com

In-Home Services
City of London
Available during Clinic Hours

We are always open on long weekend Saturdays. Our clinic is closed on Statutory Holidays and Sunday only. We look forward to meeting your furry little one.

Westmount Neighbourhood Pet Clinic

(corner of Wonderland Road South & Viscount Road)
851 Wonderland Road South
London, Ontario N6K 4T2
Canada
Click here for directions.

Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am – 7pm
Sat: 9am – 4pm
Sun: Closed

North London Neighbourhood Pet Clinic

(corner of Waterloo & Oxford)
746 Waterloo Street
London, Ontario N6A 3W3
Canada
Click here for directions.

Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am – 7pm
Sat: 9am – 4pm
Sun: Closed

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