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Parasite Control and Prevention

Parasite Control and Prevention in Cats
Cats
,
Preventive Care
Share this article
Parasite Control and Prevention
Parasite Control and Prevention in Cats
Cats
,
Preventive Care
Parasite Control and Prevention
Share this article
Parasite Control and Prevention in Cats

Heartworm disease

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease that is caused by the parasitic worm Dirofilaria immitis, and it mainly affects dogs and less commonly, cats. The disease is endemic in Singapore and is spread by mosquitoes. When an infected mosquito bites a dog or cat, it injects the larvae into the pet, and the larvae then migrate via the blood to the lungs and eventually the heart, where they mature into adult worms (this process takes around 6 months). These adult worms, which can grow up to 12cm long, can result in severe damage to the heart, lungs, other organs, and in severe cases, death. 

What are the signs of heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease in cats is very different from heartworm disease in dogs. The cat is an atypical host for heartworms, and most worms in cats do not survive to the adult stage. Cats with adult heartworms typically have just one to three worms, and many cats affected by heartworms have no adult worms. This means that heartworm disease often goes undiagnosed in cats, however, even immature worms cause real damage in the form of a condition known as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Symptoms may include coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss. Unfortunately, the first sign in some cases is when the cat sudden collapses or dies.

How is heartworm disease prevented?

Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries, and can affect the pet’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. For this reason, heartworm prevention is by far the best option. Treatment for heartworm disease, when needed, should be administered as early as possible in the course of the disease because the adverse effects of the treatment increases proportionally to the clinical signs.  

For kittens under 6 months old, a good cautionary measure to take would be to start them on heartworm preventives, in the form of chewable tablets or spot-on topical medication that is administered monthly. There is also a long-acting injection that can be given once a year. All these options are readily available at veterinary clinics.

If your pet is more than 6 months old and has never been on any preventatives, they will have to get tested for heartworms before starting on preventive medication. This is a simple blood test that will have results ready in just 15 minutes, and is absolutely necessary in case your pet already has heartworms, because some preventives, when ingested, can cause an anaphylactic reaction when it kills the juvenile heartworms present in the bloodstream.

Fleas in cats

Fleas are external parasites that love to hide in your cat’s fur and attach themselves to the skin for feeding. Pets that spend time outdoors, especially in grassy areas and thick foliage, are at risk. These parasites can also be found at home, in the garden, or in carpet fibres and underneath furniture. 

Why is flea prevention important?

Fleas in Singapore can carry parasites and diseases that can cause severe, and sometimes even fatal diseases in your pet. 

Fleas commonly cause tapeworm (an intestinal worm) infections and skin disease (flea allergy dermatitis), and even anaemia. Fleas like human blood too, and they can jump from your pet’s fur or bedding onto your skin. Some people have a bad skin reaction to flea bites which can be intensely itchy. 

What are the flea medications available?

Getting rid of and preventing fleas is easy and effective thanks to the availability of a variety of topical and oral medication. Depending on the level of infestation and the lifestyle of the pet, your veterinarian will help you select the product best suited for your pet. 

Flea collars will repel fleas, but they must be applied tightly enough to have skin contact.

Topical spot-ons such as Frontline Plus® once applied, are stored in the sebaceous glands in your pet’s skin and spread over their body surface with their natural oils. Fleas are killed through contact with your pet’s skin and coat, before getting a chance to bite. These topical spot-ons usually last for a month and are not washed off the body even after grooming. 

Oral preventatives containing isoxazoline (e.g., Nexgard, Simparica, Credelio, Bravecto) can kill off fleas within 6-8 hours. These products continue to kill new flea infestations for 1-3 months, depending on the product used. Other oral medications such as nitenpyram (Capstar) can start killing adult fleas within 30 minutes of ingestion, but the duration of action does not persist for very long.

Fur mites in cats

Fur mites (Lynxacarus radovskyi) infest cats quite commonly in Singapore, especially those that roam outdoors and come into contact with grooming tools or stray cats that have contaminated the surrounding environment. These mites cause inflammation of the skin, and signs include a salt-and-pepper appearance of the hair coat, hair loss, and itching. The amount of itching seen varies between cats. 

Veterinarians diagnose the mites by taking a sample of the fur and searching for the mites and their eggs under a microscope. Treatment and prevention involve using a topical spot-on treatment such as Revolution® which lasts a month, or Bravecto® which lasts up to 12 weeks.
 

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Heartworm disease

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease that is caused by the parasitic worm Dirofilaria immitis, and it mainly affects dogs and less commonly, cats. The disease is endemic in Singapore and is spread by mosquitoes. When an infected mosquito bites a dog or cat, it injects the larvae into the pet, and the larvae then migrate via the blood to the lungs and eventually the heart, where they mature into adult worms (this process takes around 6 months). These adult worms, which can grow up to 12cm long, can result in severe damage to the heart, lungs, other organs, and in severe cases, death. 

What are the signs of heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease in cats is very different from heartworm disease in dogs. The cat is an atypical host for heartworms, and most worms in cats do not survive to the adult stage. Cats with adult heartworms typically have just one to three worms, and many cats affected by heartworms have no adult worms. This means that heartworm disease often goes undiagnosed in cats, however, even immature worms cause real damage in the form of a condition known as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Symptoms may include coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss. Unfortunately, the first sign in some cases is when the cat sudden collapses or dies.

How is heartworm disease prevented?

Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries, and can affect the pet’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. For this reason, heartworm prevention is by far the best option. Treatment for heartworm disease, when needed, should be administered as early as possible in the course of the disease because the adverse effects of the treatment increases proportionally to the clinical signs.  

For kittens under 6 months old, a good cautionary measure to take would be to start them on heartworm preventives, in the form of chewable tablets or spot-on topical medication that is administered monthly. There is also a long-acting injection that can be given once a year. All these options are readily available at veterinary clinics.

If your pet is more than 6 months old and has never been on any preventatives, they will have to get tested for heartworms before starting on preventive medication. This is a simple blood test that will have results ready in just 15 minutes, and is absolutely necessary in case your pet already has heartworms, because some preventives, when ingested, can cause an anaphylactic reaction when it kills the juvenile heartworms present in the bloodstream.

Fleas in cats

Fleas are external parasites that love to hide in your cat’s fur and attach themselves to the skin for feeding. Pets that spend time outdoors, especially in grassy areas and thick foliage, are at risk. These parasites can also be found at home, in the garden, or in carpet fibres and underneath furniture. 

Why is flea prevention important?

Fleas in Singapore can carry parasites and diseases that can cause severe, and sometimes even fatal diseases in your pet. 

Fleas commonly cause tapeworm (an intestinal worm) infections and skin disease (flea allergy dermatitis), and even anaemia. Fleas like human blood too, and they can jump from your pet’s fur or bedding onto your skin. Some people have a bad skin reaction to flea bites which can be intensely itchy. 

What are the flea medications available?

Getting rid of and preventing fleas is easy and effective thanks to the availability of a variety of topical and oral medication. Depending on the level of infestation and the lifestyle of the pet, your veterinarian will help you select the product best suited for your pet. 

Flea collars will repel fleas, but they must be applied tightly enough to have skin contact.

Topical spot-ons such as Frontline Plus® once applied, are stored in the sebaceous glands in your pet’s skin and spread over their body surface with their natural oils. Fleas are killed through contact with your pet’s skin and coat, before getting a chance to bite. These topical spot-ons usually last for a month and are not washed off the body even after grooming. 

Oral preventatives containing isoxazoline (e.g., Nexgard, Simparica, Credelio, Bravecto) can kill off fleas within 6-8 hours. These products continue to kill new flea infestations for 1-3 months, depending on the product used. Other oral medications such as nitenpyram (Capstar) can start killing adult fleas within 30 minutes of ingestion, but the duration of action does not persist for very long.

Fur mites in cats

Fur mites (Lynxacarus radovskyi) infest cats quite commonly in Singapore, especially those that roam outdoors and come into contact with grooming tools or stray cats that have contaminated the surrounding environment. These mites cause inflammation of the skin, and signs include a salt-and-pepper appearance of the hair coat, hair loss, and itching. The amount of itching seen varies between cats. 

Veterinarians diagnose the mites by taking a sample of the fur and searching for the mites and their eggs under a microscope. Treatment and prevention involve using a topical spot-on treatment such as Revolution® which lasts a month, or Bravecto® which lasts up to 12 weeks.
 

Keep Reading
Keep Reading
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Subscribe
Always be up to date!
Receive a digest of the latest events and offers for you and your pet every month.

Heartworm disease

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease that is caused by the parasitic worm Dirofilaria immitis, and it mainly affects dogs and less commonly, cats. The disease is endemic in Singapore and is spread by mosquitoes. When an infected mosquito bites a dog or cat, it injects the larvae into the pet, and the larvae then migrate via the blood to the lungs and eventually the heart, where they mature into adult worms (this process takes around 6 months). These adult worms, which can grow up to 12cm long, can result in severe damage to the heart, lungs, other organs, and in severe cases, death. 

What are the signs of heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease in cats is very different from heartworm disease in dogs. The cat is an atypical host for heartworms, and most worms in cats do not survive to the adult stage. Cats with adult heartworms typically have just one to three worms, and many cats affected by heartworms have no adult worms. This means that heartworm disease often goes undiagnosed in cats, however, even immature worms cause real damage in the form of a condition known as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Symptoms may include coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss. Unfortunately, the first sign in some cases is when the cat sudden collapses or dies.

How is heartworm disease prevented?

Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries, and can affect the pet’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. For this reason, heartworm prevention is by far the best option. Treatment for heartworm disease, when needed, should be administered as early as possible in the course of the disease because the adverse effects of the treatment increases proportionally to the clinical signs.  

For kittens under 6 months old, a good cautionary measure to take would be to start them on heartworm preventives, in the form of chewable tablets or spot-on topical medication that is administered monthly. There is also a long-acting injection that can be given once a year. All these options are readily available at veterinary clinics.

If your pet is more than 6 months old and has never been on any preventatives, they will have to get tested for heartworms before starting on preventive medication. This is a simple blood test that will have results ready in just 15 minutes, and is absolutely necessary in case your pet already has heartworms, because some preventives, when ingested, can cause an anaphylactic reaction when it kills the juvenile heartworms present in the bloodstream.

Fleas in cats

Fleas are external parasites that love to hide in your cat’s fur and attach themselves to the skin for feeding. Pets that spend time outdoors, especially in grassy areas and thick foliage, are at risk. These parasites can also be found at home, in the garden, or in carpet fibres and underneath furniture. 

Why is flea prevention important?

Fleas in Singapore can carry parasites and diseases that can cause severe, and sometimes even fatal diseases in your pet. 

Fleas commonly cause tapeworm (an intestinal worm) infections and skin disease (flea allergy dermatitis), and even anaemia. Fleas like human blood too, and they can jump from your pet’s fur or bedding onto your skin. Some people have a bad skin reaction to flea bites which can be intensely itchy. 

What are the flea medications available?

Getting rid of and preventing fleas is easy and effective thanks to the availability of a variety of topical and oral medication. Depending on the level of infestation and the lifestyle of the pet, your veterinarian will help you select the product best suited for your pet. 

Flea collars will repel fleas, but they must be applied tightly enough to have skin contact.

Topical spot-ons such as Frontline Plus® once applied, are stored in the sebaceous glands in your pet’s skin and spread over their body surface with their natural oils. Fleas are killed through contact with your pet’s skin and coat, before getting a chance to bite. These topical spot-ons usually last for a month and are not washed off the body even after grooming. 

Oral preventatives containing isoxazoline (e.g., Nexgard, Simparica, Credelio, Bravecto) can kill off fleas within 6-8 hours. These products continue to kill new flea infestations for 1-3 months, depending on the product used. Other oral medications such as nitenpyram (Capstar) can start killing adult fleas within 30 minutes of ingestion, but the duration of action does not persist for very long.

Fur mites in cats

Fur mites (Lynxacarus radovskyi) infest cats quite commonly in Singapore, especially those that roam outdoors and come into contact with grooming tools or stray cats that have contaminated the surrounding environment. These mites cause inflammation of the skin, and signs include a salt-and-pepper appearance of the hair coat, hair loss, and itching. The amount of itching seen varies between cats. 

Veterinarians diagnose the mites by taking a sample of the fur and searching for the mites and their eggs under a microscope. Treatment and prevention involve using a topical spot-on treatment such as Revolution® which lasts a month, or Bravecto® which lasts up to 12 weeks.
 

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