Library

Cats + Parasites

  • Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of their host and can in turn transmit diseases to your cat or even you. They are prolific breeders and their life cycles can extend through multiple seasons. Prompt removal or use of preventatives limit or prevent the spread of disease, or kill the ticks.

  • Toxoplasma occurs worldwide. However, infection is uncommon in pet cats that do little or no hunting and primarily or exclusively eat commercial cat foods. Despite the high number of cats infected with T. gondii, very few show significant clinical signs. Humans are most commonly infected by eating contaminated food. Most people infected with this organism do not develop clinical disease. However, infection during pregnancy may be transmitted to the fetus and sometimes cause severe damage. Many pet cats will never be exposed to Toxoplasma and, therefore, cannot pass the infection on to humans.

  • Von Willebrand's disease causes an inability for blood to clot resulting in excessive bleeding. If this disease is suspected, initial screening tests include a complete blood count (CBC), buccal mucosal bleeding time, and a coagulation profile. More advanced diagnostics include assays that assess the quantity and functionality of vWF. DNA testing is available and most commonly used to evaluate animals used in breeding programs.

  • Whipworms are intestinal parasites measuring about 1/4 inch (6 mm) in length. They live in the intestinal tract of cats where they can cause severe irritation. Whipworm infection results in watery diarrhea, weight loss, and general debilitation. Fecal testing will not detect every infection. Whipworm infection in cats is rare in North America but cases appear to be rising.

  • Regular preventive health care for your cat can increase the length and quality of her life. Healthcare guidelines are established and kept up to date using the most recent evidence-based recommendations including the recommendation that all cats receive a complete veterinary examination at least once a year or more frequently, depending on their individual needs and health concerns.