During a routine wellness exam for your cat, we will recommend deworming as part of their care. Have you ever wondered why we recommend deworming for your low-risk, indoor cat? Here's what you need to know:
1. Kittens are very susceptible to intestinal parasites due to their poor immune system when they are first-born. They can acquire parasites from their mother or by environmental exposure. These young kittens can be seriously harmed if the parasites are left untreated. Oftentimes they can harbor these parasites even into adulthood. Because the parasites can be shed in low numbers, they may not always be found when checking a fecal sample, so regular deworming is key.
2. Not only do we worry about our cats becoming sick with parasites, but their owners can also be affected with them. This risk can depend on several factors: the parasite, the route of infection, the person's age and immune status, and the size of the infectious dose. Those people who can be most susceptible to parasitic infection include: young children, people with puppies or kittens in household, people with compromised immune system, people to who do not practice regular hygiene, and people who work in close contact with animals or in contaminated environments.
3. These infections, which are called zoonotic (an animal disease which can affect a human), can range from sub-clinical (no noticeable problems) to even blindness or death. Humans and animals can both contract parasites by accidentally ingesting parasite eggs or larvae that are contaminating the environment or from close contact with infected animals. Always wash your hands after handling or being in close contact with animals. You can even have exposure from eating fruits and vegetables without washing them thoroughly.
4. Strategic deworming is an important part of the wellness exam. This consists of treating your pet for removal of parasitic worms such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms at regular intervals specifically designed to prevent parasitic disease and shedding of parasite eggs in your yard and home. This helps to prevent serious infection in our pets by treating before parasitic damage occurs.
You cannot keep your pet from being exposed to parasites, so strategic deworming is very important. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that ALL cats and dogs have a series dewormings. Although one treatment eliminates most tapeworms, multiple doses are required for other parasites. It is also important to note that over-the-counter dewormings are generally not as effective and can actually be harmful. Please call us to discuss more details and to establish an appropriate deworming schedule to keep your feline friend and the rest of your family safe.