Parasites And Parasiticides For Cats

Parasites And Parasiticides For Cats
Parasites And Parasiticides For Cats

Video: Parasites And Parasiticides For Cats

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Video: Toxoplasmosis: How Parasites in Your Cat Can Infect Your Brain 2023, January
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In connection with a sharp increase in the number of pedigree animals in recent years, their exchange, import and contacts, as well as the organization of nurseries, the problem of parasitic diseases of cats in Russia is becoming more and more acute. However, the literacy of cat owners in this matter leaves much to be desired, which prompted me to pay attention to this problem and give some explanations on the biology of parasites and means of combating them.

Kitten sick with ear scabies, photo photograph of cat parasites
Kitten sick with ear scabies, photo photograph of cat parasites

Kitten sick with ear scabies

The most common and important are three groups of parasites: insects (fleas and lice), mites (ear, scabies, etc.) and worms, or helminths, or worms (round - nematodes, flat - trematodes, and tape - cestodes) … Sometimes parasitic diseases include those that are caused by unicellular organisms - parasitic protozoa (coccidia, toxoplasma, trypanosoma, leishmania, giardia, etc.), but in fact they stand apart and will not be considered here. Substances that selectively kill parasites are called parasiticides. Among them, according to the three listed groups of multicellular parasites, insecticides (against insects), acaricides (against ticks) and vormicides, or anthelmintics (against worms) are isolated.

The flea is the most famous and common parasite of cats… The main representative is the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis), although in some cases cats can be infected with the canine flea (Ctenocephalides canis) and even the human flea (Pulex irritans). It is important to know that fleas that live on a cat and feed on its blood never breed their young on it: they lay their eggs in the crevices of floors and carpet piles, where flea larvae hatch and grow with appropriate humidity and dust. Therefore, the main remedy against the constant presence of fleas at home is a vacuum cleaner. Washing floors and carpets with plain water promotes the survival and growth of larvae and adult fleas. As with any disinfection, detergents containing sodium hypochlorite (bleach) can be recommended. For emergency destruction of fleas on a cat, the use of insecticides is necessary (see below).

Head lice (the presence of lice) is also common in cats, although relatively rare. Unlike fleas, the full life cycle of lice occurs directly on the animal. The eggs laid by the louse remain attached to the base of the hair in the form of nits, from which the larvae hatch, which then grow into adult lice. Cat lice do not parasitize humans. Treatment is quite simple, with shampoos containing insecticides. Kerosene and other petroleum products (lysol, creosol and phenolic compounds), as well as kerosene-based insecticides (for example, dichlorvos in cans), should never be used to treat cats - this can kill them, since such substances are easily absorbed through the skin and cause a strong poisoning of an animal.

Cat lice, or cat louse (Felicola subrostratus), photo photo of cat parasites
Cat lice, or cat louse (Felicola subrostratus), photo photo of cat parasites

Cat louse, or cat louse (Felicola subrostratus)

Parasitic mites are a serious problem in today's feline world. The diseases they cause are rather difficult to treat. Generally speaking, ticks are a composite concept that unites several different groups of parasitic arachnids. Not to be confused: ticks are not insects, they belong to a different class of arthropods and are close to spiders. The most common in domestic cats in our climatic zone are: Otodectes cynotis ear mite, Heyletiella cat mite (Cheyletiella parasitivorax and Cheyletiella blakei), Notoedres cati feline mite and Demodex cati demodex cati dermal feline mite.

The ear mite is best known for giving pronounced symptoms of the disease: the cat often shakes its head, scratches its ears, and black discharge is found in the auricles. Very contagious! In advanced cases, it can lead to a serious condition of the animal and secondary infections.

The causative agent of ear scabies in cats (Otodectes cynotis), photo photo parasites of cats
The causative agent of ear scabies in cats (Otodectes cynotis), photo photo parasites of cats

The causative agent of ear scabies in cats (Otodectes cynotis)

A much less well-known, but quite common tick-borne disease of cats is cheiletiellosis. The pathogen (mite heiletiella) lives in the surface layers of the animal's skin and lays eggs at the base of the hair in the form of nits. Itching, but not severe; the cat just periodically "scratches itself". Cat skin, especially around the neck and at the base of the ears, often (but not always) has reddish dry bumps, flaky skin and dandruff. This dandruff contains live mites and is sometimes referred to as “stray dandruff”. This tick is also extremely contagious. It can pass on to a person and bite him like a flea, but for a long time he does not hold on to him and does not live.

Notoedrosis, a disease caused by the notoedres mite, is feline scabies. The causative agent belongs to the family of sarcoptic mange mites (itching) that cause scabies in various mammals, including humans. However, feline scabies is specific and cannot be transmitted to humans or dogs. It is accompanied by severe itching of the skin in cats. The mite lives in the skin, piercing it and making moves in it. The ends of the ears and the back of the neck are especially affected, and later the muzzle and eyelids. In advanced cases, secondary bacterial infections are possible.

Demodectic mange in cats is one of the most common and little noticed infections. The Demodex cat mite, unlike the Demodex canine mite, most often shows no visible symptoms at all.

According to experts, most cats worldwide are infected with this mite; the tick simply cohabits with the cat without causing any visible disease. However, in weakened individuals and in older cats, the tick can cause skin lesions, accompanied by the appearance of symmetrically located foci of baldness, especially on the ears, around the eyes and on the bridge of the nose, and in more severe cases, on the chin, chest, abdomen, groin and tail. As a rule, the infection is not accompanied by itching.

Toxocara cat (Toxocara cati), photo photography
Toxocara cat (Toxocara cati), photo photography

Toxocara cat (Toxocara cati)

Parasitic worms, or helminths, are a complex, large and diverse group of parasites that mainly affect the internal organs of the cat, in contrast to insects and ticks, which parasitize mainly on the surface of the animal. This group of parasites deserves a separate discussion, and will only be mentioned here. Among the three classes of worms mentioned at the beginning, nematodes (roundworms) are the most widespread, diverse and clinically and epidemiologically important. They can affect almost all internal organs of an animal: gastrointestinal tract, muscles, lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, etc. Therefore, one should not think that if a cat has undergone a course of treatment with conventional oral (through the mouth) anthelmintic drugs, then it is free of worms: many of these drugs expel worms only from the gastric tract.

The main and eternal problem in the treatment of parasitic diseases is that both the parasite and the host are animal organisms, and, therefore, the question arises of how to come up with such a poison that would poison the parasite animal and be harmless to the host animal. In view of the closeness of the types of structure and metabolism of any animal cell, this problem seems insoluble. In fact, there are only partial, relative solutions: you can find substances that are highly toxic to the animal parasite and slightly toxic to the host animal. These are all parasiticides. In other words, there are no completely harmless drugs against parasites - you have to choose between the harm caused by the parasite and the harm from the use of the antiparasitic drug.

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