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What's "bugging" your cat?
Knowing how to identify a variety of feline illnesses and their warning signs can save your cat from unnecessary discomfort.  Here are some of the most common parasites.

The following information should not be used as a substitute for good Veterinary care.

This is a protozoan, a one celled animal.  It is not visible to the naked eye but is visible under a microscope.  It is easy to identify in fecal floatation's.
Coccidiosis usually produces infection in young kittens and puppies but adult pets can also be affected.
Transmission occurs from animal to animal, through feces that contain oocysts.  Other animals can act as an intermediate or transport host.  The entire cycle lasts one week.  Cocci can be found in the animals stool without causing any problems until a stress factor causes an outbreak.

Diarrhea is the main sign.  In severe cases the feces are mucus-like and bloody.  It can be complicated by loss of appetite, weakness , dehydration and anemia, if allowed to continue in young kittens cocci infection can cause death, if allowed  to continue in adults severe weight loss and illness may develop.

Albon (Sulfadimethoxine), or Corid (Amprolium), are both used to treat this parasite, these remedies are available through various wholesale pet catalogs or from your Veterinarian.  Since diarrhea is a sign of many infectious diseases as well as other parasites it is important to remember to always isolate infected kittens and cats from each other and consult your Veterinarian, especially if treatment does not show improvement.

If you suspect worms in your cat, take it and a fecal sample to the Veterinarian.  Do not try over the counter products you might misdiagnose your cat and treat it for the wrong thing.  Also over the counter medications don't offer the same protection.

Tapeworms live in the intestines and share the cat's food.  They are most commonly transmitted through fleas, so if your cat has or has had fleas, there is a good chance it may have tapeworms, too.  Tapeworms segments can be seen with the naked eye, they resemble white rice if they were recently shed you may see them moving.

Roundworms are in the intestines and feed on digesting food. They can cause diarrhea, constipation, anemia, potbellies, or general malaise.

Whip worms and Thread worms are rare and burrow into the small and large intestines.   They can cause diarrhea, loss of weight, or anemia and internal bleeding.

Hookworms enter through the mouth or skin and migrate to the small intestine.  They can cause bloody diarrhea, weakness and anemia.

Flukes are found in the small intestine, pancreas and bile ducts.  They can cause your cat to have indigestion, jaundice, diarrhea or anemia.

Ear mites are small parasites that feed on fluids in the cat's ear tissue.  Bacterial infection is a common complication and if left untreated, can cause deafness.

Itching around the ears, discomfort and excessive wax production in the ears.  Shaking its head or rubbing its ears with paws is also a sign that there may also indicate that your cat has ear mites.

Consult your Veterinarian.  Since ear mites are transferred from cat to cat, the best way to prevent them is to keep your cat inside.  IF you have several cats and one becomes infected, keep the others separate if possible and put a few drops of mineral oil in their ears.  Don't worry, unlike fleas, the life cycle of an ear mite takes place entirely within the ear, so you don't have to worry about ridding your house of the pests.

If you notice you cat scratching itself , be on the lookout for fleas.  Generally fleas will feed on your cat and then jump off so you may not see the fleas, but you can determine if your cat has fleas by looking for flea dirt, flea dirt is little black specks.

Excessive scratching and in severe cases anemia.

Remember, you never only have one flea.  Thoroughly wash your cat's bedding, blankets, and other washable items in hot water.  We recommend the use of Advantage, you can get Advantage from your Veterinarian, it comes in small tubes and is applied to the back of your cats neck once a month.  We have great success with this product and have found that all the fleas are dead within 24 hours of using this product.

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