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Posts Tagged ‘cat parasites’

Does your cat have itchy ears? The Number One cause of itchy ears in cats is ear mites, according to Dr. Lynette Cole of Ohio State University.

At a recent lecture attended by Norfolk veterinarians and their staff, Dr. Cole listed the top three most common causes of itchy, inflamed ears in cats: parasites, polyps, and allergies.

Ear mites, which are a type of parasite, appear to be tiny white specks that move around, when seen through a magnifier such as an otoscope

Veterinary otoscope, used to examine ears.

 

Looking through an otoscope at a model cat ear.

Seen under a microscope, however, the situation becomes much more clear. Ear mites, known also as Otodectes cynotis, have eight legs and are very active crawlers. And if that weren’t enough Ick Factor — ear mites are arachnids, putting them in the same class as spiders and ticks.

Ear mite removed from a kitten. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Ear mite removed from a kitten. (2) Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

What’s the first sign of ear mites? Since you can’t see the mites with your naked eye, the first visible sign of a problem may be a layer of crusty, black debris in your pet’s ear. Sometimes it looks like coffee grounds. By the time this debris appears, your cat is probably scratching her ears, which may be what prompts you to look inside the ears.

Since there may be other causes of “crud” in the ears, you’ll want your cat’s veterinarian to examine the ears to find out if ear mites are present. Then, the veterinarian will devise an appropriate treatment plan.

Ear mites can be transmitted from one pet to another, so the veterinarian may advise treating all pets in the household at the same time.

Check out these videos we’ve uploaded to our You Tube channel, featuring the ear mites shown in the photos above. One mite is mired in mineral oil, while the other mite speeds out of view!

Does your cat have itchy ears or suspicious-looking debris inside? Contact Us to schedule an appointment today!

[Our doctor cannot diagnose your pet over the phone or the Internet, so please schedule an appointment today.]

Bonus: Our cat patients that are treated with Revolution to protect against fleas, heartworms, and intestinal worms are also receiving protection from ear mites!

Revolution Rewards details here.

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Attention Users of Feline Revolution: The free dose program has ended and has been replaced with a new purchase rewards program.

For every 3 doses purchased, you can earn points which convert to dollars, which are loaded onto a prepaid VISA card, once you’ve reached a minimum of 100 points (= $10). See program FAQs here.

Buy 6 doses, earn $15

Buy 9 doses, earn $25 

Buy 12 doses, earn $35

Registration is FREE. Sign up here:  https://www.zoetispetcare.com/rewards/offers/revolution

 

Why Revolution? We asked Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic:

Revolution is safe to use on cats and is especially recommended for those that venture outdoors. Your “outdoor” cat is exposed to more natural pests than a cat that stays inside.

But remember: certain pests, like mosquitoes and fleas, can easily migrate indoors, exposing your “indoor” cats to heartworms and tapeworms. And certain pests, like houseflies and cockroaches, can carry roundworms, exposing any pet that likes to eat bugs.

Also, cats that go outside can bring ear mites and intestinal worms indoors and share them with the homebodies.

Revolution protects your indoor and outdoor cats against:

Revolution is available to your 5-15 lb cat by prescription only. To schedule an appointment, Contact Us today.

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Previously, on the Little Creek Veterinary Clinic blog, we discussed the importance of yearly check-ups for cats. Cats benefit from wellness care and from early intervention when you notice signs of trouble. [Click the link above to review the list.]

However, we have heard from owners who would rather avoid bringing their cat to the doctor, if the cat appears healthy. Common sticking points for owners are that their cat puts up a fuss at going into the carrier, leaving the house, going for a car ride, or being handled by the veterinary team (whom the cat sees infrequently.)

But since you know that yearly health check-ups and preventative care, such as vaccinations and parasite control, are important components of pet care, you’ll want to find a way to make getting your cat to the vet easier and less stressful — for you and your pet.

Try these tips from BI-Vetmedica, available in a brochure at our office:

  • Start with a carrier that is easy to take your cat in and out of (top-loading carriers work best.)
  • Help your cat be more comfortable in the car by using the carrier and taking shorter rides to places other than the veterinary clinic.
  • Avoid feeding your cat for several hours before riding in the car (cats travel better on an empty stomach.)
  • Bring your cat’s favorite treats and toys with you to the veterinary clinic.
  • Practice regular care routines at home, like grooming, nail trimming and teeth brushing.
  • Pretend to do routine veterinary procedures with your cat, like touching the cat’s face, ears, feet and tail.
  • Give your cat and the veterinary healthcare team a chance to interact in a less stressful situation by taking your cat to the clinic for a weight check, rather than only for exams and procedures.

Bonus Tip 1: Leave the cat carrier out where your cat can access and explore it. Put a blanket and toy or treats in the carrier, and allow your cat to nap in its comfy little nest. Encourage your cat to become accustomed to the carrier as a “happy place.”

Bonus Tip 2: Spritz the inside of the carrier with Feliway synthetic calming pheromone 15 minutes before you place your cat in it for the ride to the vet. Then spray Feliway on a towel and place the towel over the carrier in the car and at the veterinary clinic. 

Check out these extra ideas from Catster.com.

Angell Animal Medical Center has produced this video as a guide to placing your cat in its carrier.

Ready to make your cat’s veterinary appointment? Contact Us to let us know!

 

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Cats can be such quiet, independent creatures that it is easy to forget they need regular doctor visits, just like dogs.

Cats should receive a yearly check-up, fecal analysis, and vaccine boosters. And remember to pick up their flea and heartworm preventatives (such as Revolution)!

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, says the good news is, certain conditions viral diseases and parasite infestation can be prevented or quickly treated — but aging brings its own problems, and you can’t stop the sands of time. That’s why it’s important to combine careful observation with annual veterinary check-ups.

Cats are notorious for hiding pain and illness, but you can use your detective skills to know when there’s a problem.

Look for these signs — and Contact Us at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic to request a brochure with detailed information on each:

  • Peeing or pooping outside the litterbox
  • Becoming less social
  • Decrease in activity
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Increase or decrease in food and water consumption
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Over-grooming or under-grooming
  • Howling; increased vocalization
  • Bad breath

Remember: you don’t have to wait for your cat to be sick before scheduling a visit with the veterinarian!

Coming up next: What you can do to prepare your cat for veterinary visits.

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We published this post last year, but it’s as true now as it was then: tick populations are on the rise across the US, even in the southern states.

According to a recent interview with leading parasitologists, published by Veterinary Practice Newswe can expect to see more ticks this year for the following reasons:

  • Warmer winters
  • Suburbanization, which brings together people, wildlife and ticks
  • An increase in white-tailed deer
  • Migratory birds that carry ticks to new areas
  • A movement toward the preservation of open space and the replanting of trees
  • The use of fewer insecticides

This news is cause for concern for everyone. Those of us who have dogs and cats that venture outdoors must not ignore the risk to our pets. That means protecting our pets, as well as ourselves.

Ticks are carriers for the following six diseases:

  • Lyme Disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Tularemia
Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Get links to articles on each disease here and learn how to protect yourself and your family.

We can help protect your pet with a Lyme Disease vaccination and a Seresto collar, so let us know if you and your pet will be doing any of the following activities:

  • hiking, especially in wooded or grassy areas, such as state and public parks
  • camping
  • travelling
  • hunting

Of course, ticks can be found right in your own backyard, so keep an eye out for these pests – and if you see one on your dog or cat, tell us!

In fact, we’ve begun hearing from more clients who are finding ticks on their cats — and those cats are not going hiking with their owners. That means ticks are very much a backyard problem in this area.

Found a tick on your pet?
Watch this video from About.com that explains the Do’s and Don’t’s of tick removal.

Need a tick removal device?
I searched Amazon.com and came up with this list of tick removal devices, including the crow-bar type shown in the video.

Other resource on the pending tick explosion:
Companion Animal Parasite Council

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Originally published April 9, 2013.

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According to a recent interview with leading parasitologists, published by Veterinary Practice News, we can expect to see more ticks this year for the following reasons:

  • Warmer winters
  • Suburbanization, which brings together people, wildlife and ticks
  • An increase in white-tailed deer
  • Migratory birds that carry ticks to new areas
  • A movement toward the preservation of open space and the replanting of trees
  • The use of fewer insecticides

This news is cause for concern for everyone. Those of us who have dogs and cats that venture outdoors must not ignore the risk to our pets. That means protecting our pets, as well as ourselves.

Ticks are carriers for the following six diseases:

  • Lyme Disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Tularemia
Baked bean? Nope - it's an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Get links to articles on each disease here and learn how to protect yourself and your family.

We can help protect your pet with Lyme Disease vaccinations and Preventic collars, so let us know if you and your pet will be doing any of the following activities:

  • hiking, especially in wooded or grassy areas, such as state and public parks
  • camping
  • travelling
  • hunting

Of course, ticks can be found right in your own backyard, so keep an eye out for these pests – and if you see one on your dog or cat, tell us!

In fact, we’ve begun hearing from more clients who are finding ticks on their cats — and those cats are not going hiking with their owners. That means ticks are very much a backyard problem in this area.

Found a tick on your pet?
Watch this video from About.com that explains the Do’s and Don’t’s of tick removal.

Need a tick removal device?
I searched Amazon.com and came up with this list of tick removal devices, including the crow-bar type shown in the video.

Other resource on the pending tick explosion:
Companion Animal Parasite Council

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     If you’ve been following along with our Under the ‘Scope series, you know I’ve blogged about Tapeworms, Hookworms, and Roundworms.  (If you haven’t read those posts, click on the links and read them now.) 
     I mentioned in the last post that I’ve been hoping to show you photos of Coccidiae and Whipworms, as well.  As it turns out, we’ve had a recent spate of dogs, both young and old, battling Coccidiae.  This is what we’ve seen under the microscope:

This is what we see at "medium" magnification. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

     Not too helpful, is it?  Coccidiae (that’s the plural of “coccidia”) are among the tiniest parasites we search for in your pet’s fecal sample.  Now look at this photo with some of the coccidia oocysts (spores) labeled for identification:

Click to enlarge and read the labels. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

     Now look at the oocysts under higher magnification:

Two highly magnified coccidia spores. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

     Now look at the coccidia as seen under an electron microscope:

     If you’re thinking that looks an awful lot like a jellyfish at the Virginia Aquarium, you’re right.  I have no idea how that snuck in there.  My apologies to everyone who reads this blog.  Anyway, now you know where I spent my Sunday. 

     Okay, let’s try this again.  Coccidia spore under super-intense hyper-fraznik electron microscope:

EEEEEEEEK! Photo by Jennifer Miele

     All right, all right, I’m messing with you.  Little tiny coccidia spores do not grow up to become sharks.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is, if your cat or dog is infected with these protozoan parasites, it may suffer chronic or intermittent diarrhea.  Left untreated, the infection may progress to the point that your pet has bloody stools, vomiting, and loss of appetite.  In rare cases, death may occur.

     Treatment for coccidiosis (the disease cause by the coccidia infection) is effective and uncomplicated, provided the illness has not progressed to a serious level.

     Coccidia species tend to stick to dogs and cats as their hosts.  A notable exception is Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis in humans.  Many women are familiar with this disease, as it is to be avoided at all costs during pregnancy. 
     Toxoplasmosis can be contracted by handling cat fecal matter or contaminated litter.  For this reason, a pregnant woman should ask someone else to clean the cat’s litterbox, or she should wear thick gloves and wash well after the task is completed.

     There is no preventative product on the market for coccidiosis.  Your pet should remain on its heartworm/intestinal worm preventative year-round, even though it will not protect against protozoan parasites. 
     Be vigilant in noticing whether your pet’s bathroom habits have changed.  If you suspect a parasite infection, notify our clinic so that we may examine a specimen under the microscope.  Who knows?  Your pet’s parasites could be the next ones featured on Under the ‘Scope!  ~~  Jen

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