June 2009 Issue

Ticks: Take Steps to Protect Your Cat Against This Summer Scourge

These tiny transmittors of disease make daily checks a must.

Ticks are tenacious. They creep up tall grass, weeds, fences ó and wait 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 your pants leg). Once on board, they insert their mouths into their prey and begin their meal. During this feeding, tick saliva mixes with the hostís blood. Disease Carriers. As a result of this transfer of fluids, ticks rival mosquitoes as carriers of disease to both human and animal. Although ticks are most often associated with Lyme Disease, they can also transmit ehrlichiosis (similar to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) and tularemia (Rabbit Fever) to cats. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you see any of the warning signs that your pet has contracted a tick-transmitted disease, such as fever, lameness, swelling in the joints or glands, listlessness, loss of appetite, loss of coordination, or difficulty with breathing, chewing or swallowing.

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