Many types of parasites commonly infect cats in Southern Ontario. These parasites can be transmitted though hunting mice, birds or rabbits; by contact with other animals or their feces; through potting soil for houseplants; by fleas, mosquitos and other biting insects; or by contact with people.
MOST CATS WITH PARASITES DO NOT VOMIT OR DEFECATE WORMS!
Parasites in your cat will remain in their gut until their numbers become very large. Most parasites only shed microscopic eggs or cysts. While they may cause diarrhea, infections are often subclinical and cause discomfort, nausea, failure to gain weight, or predispose to serious or even fatal diseases. Many parasites can also cause disease in humans, especially the very young, elderly, or sick.
The most common intestinal parasites are Hookworms, Roundworms, and Tapeworms, which are killed with standard deworming/flea prevention. Fecal testing helps to ensure these parasites have been effectively killed and are not posing a continuing danger to your cat or yourself.
Several other parasites can infect your cat which, while uncommon, can cause serious or even life threatening disease to you or your pet. These include:
Toxoplasma: A small parasite that may cause diarrhea, seizures, blindness and death in cats. CONTAGIOUS TO HUMANS, ESPECIALLY PREGNANT WOMEN
Giardia: A small parasite that may cause diarrhea and soft stool in cats and may be CONTAGIOUS TO IMMUNE- COMPRIMISED HUMANS
Coccidia: A tiny bacteria-like parasite that causes severe diarrhea in kittens and chronic diarrhea in adults
Tritrichomonas: A parasite that may cause chronic bouts of diarrhea in cats.
Pinworms, whipworms (pictured), and other atypical worms
FECAL TESTING IS NECESSARY TO IDENTIFY THESE PARASITES IN ORDER TO TARGET TREATMENT AND PROTECT YOUR CAT AND YOURSELF
Talk to your veterinarian or staff about fecal testing your cat today!
Interested in more information on deworming in kittens? You can also check out The Adventures of Mojito at Village Cat Clinic – Routine Parasite Control Written by Angelina Johnstone RVT