Feline Coat Parasites
No one likes it when their cat brings home uninvited and unwelcome little guests in their coat, but most cats will play host to a bug or two of some form in their lifetime. Ironically it is often the smallest creatures that can cause the biggest problems.
Ear mites are one of the most common veterinary health care problems in cats. The ear mites live on the surface of the ear canal, feeding on the tissue and fluids from the ear canal. Fortunately they can be very easily treated when diagnosed, however if their presence goes unnoticed for a long time, the damage that mites cause can lead to secondary ear infections. Serious ear infections can cause the ear drum to burst causing a partial or complete loss of hearing.
The clearest signs of ear mites are vigorous head shaking and a red/brown discharge from the ears. Diagnosis is carried out by a vet who will use an otoscope to view the mites. Once diagnosed your vet will supply you with suitable drops to use for 7-10 day in order to clear out the mites. A further check up should be given after 4 weeks to make sure the mites have completely gone and that the damage caused hasn´t resulted in any complications.
Fleas of course are the most common skin parasite in cats. The symptoms of flea infestation include excessive scratching and possibly hair loss. Your cat´s skin may also be reddened and inflamed in some patches, and possibly sore to touch.
Adult fleas can be seen by the human eye and do not normally need a vet to diagnose or treat. Flea treatments can be bought in pet stores in a variety of forms from pills to shampoos or powders. Flea eggs, however are almost impossible to spot, and if not eradicated can lead to a reinfestation quickly so it is important to follow the instructions on any product carefully.
Be sure to also clean your house to prevent any fleas or eggs surviving in the environment.
If your cat´s flea infestation is severe and hair loss has occurred or he has patches of broken skin it is recommended you take him to the vet.
Walking Dandruff Mites
A more unusual skin parasite in cats is the cheyletiella mite, more commonly known as "walking dandruff". These parasitic mites infest the cats and cause skin disease. Signs of the mite infestation include dandruff, itchiness, skin inflammation, small swollen spots and moving mites, which are small and white, hence the name walking dandruff. If the mites are not treated they will quickly infest your cat´s entire coat, and may even move into the nose canal, causing respiratory issues.
Treatment of the mites is very simple once diagnosed. Your vet will take skin scrapings to confirm the skin disease is caused by mites and not fleas. Once the cat has been diagnosed with cheyletiella mites the vet will provide you with a specialist shampoo or dip which should be used for 5 weeks.
To prevent a second infestation vacuuming and using house flea sprays will remove any mites that may be in the environment.
Your vet will usually check for any mites or parasites during your cat´s regular check up, so be sure not to skip an appointment.
If you have a vet question you need to ask, then why not e-mail our online vet Dr. Dalya at email@example.com now!
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