Cytauxzoonosis, a fatal disease that affects cats and can cause severe malnutrition, dehydration, and other symptoms, swept through the northern region of Georgia five years ago, casting a pall of gloom over the state’s otherwise bright springtime skies. This disease can kill cats and can also cause other symptoms. James Brousse, DVM, proprietor of The Cat and Dog Clinic in Athens, Georgia, recalls that his facility was responsible for the diagnosis of a handful of instances of the disease. After exhibiting signs for a few days, several of the cats passed away.
The problem is caused by ticks, which are known to transmit and spread a variety of infectious illnesses. These bothersome parasites, together with other parasites, germs, and viruses, are among the most serious threats to human health. What’s the upbeat report? If you are aware of these dangers, you can preserve the health of your cat during the whole season.
Ticks and the Other Four Primary Culprits
Dr. Brousse discusses the hazards posed by the following five potential health problems that might affect your cat during the spring below:
Fleas According to the results of a recent poll, over half of the veterinarians who took part in the study think that fleas are the primary health risk of the spring. Caution is advised for families with more than one pet since, according to Dr. Brousse, “cats may acquire them from dogs, as dogs are walked outdoors and are more likely to get them.” Fleas are agile and very little insects that may leap off of humans and then attach themselves to animals for months at a time. When you consider that a single flea may lay around fifty eggs in a single day, you can see how rapidly the population can grow and how it can spread throughout the environment. Fleas, in addition to causing discomfort, have the potential to spread bacterial infections that are lethal, such as plague.
Diseases Caused by Bacteria and Viruses The feline plague is a particularly insidious form of the painful bacterial illness known as the plague. This illness, which is carried by fleas that live on rodents, has the potential to spread rapidly if it is not detected in its early stages. Extreme fatigue and swollen glands are two of the symptoms of this condition. Ticks are the vectors for the transmission of Lyme disease, a more widespread bacterial illness. This condition may lead to debilitating arthritis and perhaps a handicap that is permanent. The West Nile Virus is a very uncommon viral illness that may be caught from birds and then passed on to humans via mosquitoes.
Ticks Ticks are a significant challenge for cats throughout the summer months, particularly in suburban locations. “Ticks originate from deer and jump on cats’ ears or perineum,” which is the region surrounding the anus where there is no hair, as Dr. Brousse says. “Ticks may transmit diseases to humans.” Ticks attach themselves on cats and suck off their blood, transmitting dangerous diseases such as cytauxzoonosis and Lyme disease. Ticks move more slowly and are bigger in size than other types of ticks.
Mosquitoes Your cat may get infected with the West Nile Virus or, more often, with heartworms. Heartworms are parasites that develop to a length of up to six inches and lodge themselves in a cat’s lungs and heart after being transmitted by a mosquito bite. According to Dr. Brousse, “it just takes one or two worms to enter inside the cat in order to trigger a problem.” [Citation needed] The symptoms range from random vomiting to a mild wheeze to possibly abrupt death in extreme cases.
Allergies Cats may acquire allergies to air pollutants, just as people can. According to Dr. Brousse’s forecast, allergic responses to different pollens will become more common, particularly in regions that have very abundant flowering. Pollen, grass, weeds, and even the saliva of fleas may all act as allergens. Cats who are hypersensitive to these irritants may experience extreme itching and scratching, which may result in the loss of fur and open wounds that are susceptible to bacterial infection.
Winning the Battle
This spring, taking preventative measures may help keep your cat safe from harm. The following are some measures that you may take:
- Keep your cat inside Kitty has a lower risk of contracting an illness from fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes if she remains indoors where she may be protected from the elements.
- Pay a visit to the animal doctor. Dr. Brousse recommends that you have your cat in for a full medical examination once every year, or even better, twice every year. Your veterinarian will perform necessary tests, such as an antibody test for heartworm, which may detect infections in their earlier stages and provide more accurate treatment.
- Apply some kind of preventative medication. The health of your cat may be helped maintained by giving it a preventive medication against fleas and heartworms on a monthly basis. This medication can be in the form of a chewable tablet or a liquid that is given topically to the back of the cat’s neck.
- Check for evidence of flea dirt. Use a flea comb to go through your pet’s coat and remove any fleas you find. Use a piece of white paper towel to dab the brush. It’s possible that those dark flecks are flea filth or dried fragments of blood. To be very certain, spritz some water onto the paper towel. The colour of regular soil will not change, but flea dirt will become a bright red as it dissolves.
- Make it a regular habit to check your pet for ticks. You should give your pet a little massage; if you feel a lump, you should divide the coat and check the region. To remove the tick from your pet, you should not use pinchers but rather a special tool called a tick remover. Afterwards, the tick should be encased in a tissue and flushed. Remove any bacteria from the tick remover. If the afflicted region continues to be red, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian.
- Regular cleaning of both your home and your pet is required. The most effective method for removing fleas from your home is to vacuum, and keeping your home clean in general will help lessen allergies that cats are sensitive to. If your cat suffers from allergies or parasites, giving it a bath may help reduce the discomfort caused by these conditions and prevent it from scratching, which may lead to infection.
According to Dr. Brousse, it is best to err on the side of caution whenever possible. You and your cat will be able to take pleasure in the many joys that spring has to offer without either of you having to be concerned about the potential dangers that spring poses to feline health.