If you think your cat cant get ticks or the diseases that they spread, emerging evidence indicates otherwise. While cats, unlike dogs, are fairly resistant to tick-borne diseases, they can be affected, says Meredith L. Miller, DVM, ACVIM, a lecturer in small animal medicine at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Hundreds of projects are underway across the U.S. and perhaps thousands worldwide using citizen scientists. Theyre volunteers who collect information, usually in cooperation with professional scientists, in fields from computer science to medicine, ecology, outer space and beyond. Rather than the big breakthrough, the results of scientific studies often can indicate whats ineffective in treatment. That was the case when Craig Webb, DVM, Ph.D., at Colorado State University led a clinical trial of a diabetes mellitus treatment.
Hand-wrestling your kitten or newly adopted cat may seem like harmless play, but if either would happen to scratch you, you could develop an infection requiring treatment for cat scratch disease (CSD). This rare but potentially serious condition is estimated to affect about 12,500 people annually in the U.S., including 500 hospitalized for treatment. The incidence is higher than medical experts anticipated, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Although high temperatures and humidity are most favorable to the cat flea from June to August, it breeds in the U.S. year-round. Ctenocephalides felis is an intriguing little insect - no more than an eighth of an inch long but capable of jumping eight inches. A female can lay 50 eggs a day on its host. But heres where intrigue can turn into irritation and beyond.
Lyme disease bacteria live in deer ticks that feed on deer, rodents and other hosts. A tick in search of a meal may lurk on a blade of grass or bush. When a promising animal passes by, it grabs hold and hitches a ride. Once aboard, it crawls along, seeking an unobtrusive patch of skin, then latches on with its front legs, cuts open the skin with its mouthparts and inserts a barbed feeding tube that makes removal challenging.
Ticks used to be most active in spring through autumn, but rising temperatures attributed to global warming have shortened their long winter naps and in some areas eliminated them entirely. The result: Tick bites have become a year-round risk in many parts of the U.S.
Ticks are tenacious. They creep up tall grass, weeds and fences — waiting until a passing shadow, a vibration, an odor or even a whiff of exhaled carbon dioxide tells them a possible host might be passing by. Then they let go of their perch and fall, or reach out with their front legs to snag hold of a furry coat (or a pant leg). Once on board, they insert their mouths into their prey and begin their meal. During this feeding, tick saliva mixes with the host’s blood.
Fleas are parasites that suck blood for their food, leaving small lesions that are similar to those of mosquito bites. "They are more than a skin problem," cautions Williams Miller, Jr., VMD, professor of clinical science at Cornells College of Veterinary Medicine. "They can become a serious health problem." Cats are fastidious groomers, so healthy adult cats will keep the number of fleas on their bodies low. "But if there is a significant number of fleas feeding on the animal, they can cause severe anemia," explains Dr. Miller.
According to Bayer Animal Health, Advantage and Advantix are now available over-the-counter. Formerly available only through veterinarians, these flea and tick products will now be sold at pet specialty retail and internet outlets.
My cat has just developed a black discharge in one ear. Ive never seen or heard of this kind of thing before. I have taken him to my veterinarian twice, and on each occasion, she cleaned the ear and microscopically examined the discharge. Im assured that there are no ear mites present. Whats the reason for the discharge and whats the prognosis?
The recipe for relief? Get those freeloaders off your animal and out of your home!
The risk of over-the-counter medications; some relief for flea allergies
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