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TV Vet Dr Rachele Lowe: How I Protect My Cat From Fleas

Cute cat enjoying himself outdoors

When there’s a veterinarian in the family, you’re pretty much guaranteed there will be plenty of furry friends around. Living with me is no exception.

We have a busy household. My husband and I, along with our two active teenage boys are avid animal lovers. The current full-time menagerie of rescued pets includes “Delilah” our 6 year old goofy Staffie, “Cassie”, the 16 year old Poodle we inherited from my husband’s parents, Buffy, the 11 year old Scottish Fold who arrived as a stray at the Hospital and wouldn’t take her eyes off me until I took her home (maybe it was my conscience speaking?) and our latest addition, “Chunky”, a 12 month old bundle of fluffy long haired feline delight. I don’t have any favourites, but Chunky is quite special. He was a very sick five week old stray, hours from being euthanized as a hopeless case that I took home and nursed to recovery.

On top of that we also have a procession of part-time feline residents. We recently returned a diabetic cat to her owners after minding her while they had an “adult gap year” and my sister’s two Ragdoll cats are frequent visitors.

Needless to say, with so many cats coming and going, parasite control is paramount! Every cat in our household, including newcomers, gets a regular dose of Advocate. The thing I love about this product is that it’s safe, well tolerated, doesn’t have a strong smell, is easy to apply and is extremely effective.

The parasite I worry about the most in our multi-pet household is fleas. Fleas are a superbug. They’re prolific breeders and very hardy. One flea will lay 50-60 eggs a day, so an infestation can build up very quickly! These eggs drop off the pet into the environment. The eggs hatch and larvae develop. These larvae will pupate and develop into an adult fleas within pupae (cocoons). Pupae can live for 12 months in the environment waiting for the right time to hatch and latch onto its host for a blood meal (this, by the way, is the reason some people notice fleas suddenly jumping about the place when they return home after a holiday!). Given that all pets in our household are indoors and outdoors, and spend an extraordinary amount of time luxuriating on their chosen human bed (an ideal flea egg depository!) this is a family issue rather than just a pet’s personal problem.

The first sign of a flea problem is usually itchiness. The clever little critters inject saliva containing an anticoagulant into the host’s blood stream to make the blood meal flow a little faster. If the fleas remain untreated, the constant itching and chewing can lead to bald patches and skin sores, which inevitably become infected. Many pets are allergic to the saliva. The allergy will make them severely itchy and it only takes a single flea!

rachele-cat

Advocate for cats stops fleas feeding within five minutes, and kills re-infesting fleas within one hour. This helps to break the flea lifecycle.

The ease with which your cat can pick up fleas may surprise you. Many of my clients are shocked that their cat has fleas because they think the cat is a home body. That’s what we thought about Chunky! He only ever seems to be outside for a few minutes before returning to the couch- all was revealed, however, when we got a GPS tracker for his collar. He can cover an extraordinary amount of terrain in 20 minutes! Even if your cat is indoors – they will still pick up fleas. Any exposure to an open window, a balcony or other pets can be enough for a flea to find your cat. Fleas can also survive and breed during Winter as many people heat their houses. So be sure to use flea control all year round.

Advocate for cats also kills hookworms and roundworms. These nasty gastrointestinal worms are spread between animals through the environment, such as contaminated food and water containers, litter trays, soil and sand. Typical symptoms of an intestinal worm infection include diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, pale gums, poor coat condition and sometimes coughing.

Ear mites are another reasonably common parasite that will spread like wildfire from pet to pet if not treated promptly. These mites are a common cause of ear infection and itchy ears in younger pets. Infested animals tend to have a black discharge from their ears and frequently shake their heads. A monthly dose of Advocate will prevent this nasty bug setting up shop in your cats’ ears.

Many pet owners are unaware that their cat can contract heartworm. Cats are an atypical host for heartworm infection but they can certainly still become infected with the disease. Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes and in cats, has been documented as a cause of sudden death. A monthly dose of Advocate provides peace of mind against heartworm disease.

And last but not least (you’re probably noticing there is a parasite for just about every cat body part!), Advocate will also prevent lungworm. Lungworm causes a nasty cough and shortness of breath. In severe cases it can cause difficulty breathing. Cats become infected with lungworm when they eat slugs and snails, rodents, lizards, frogs and birds in your backyard.

So there you have it. There are some pretty heavy duty, unpleasant and even life-threatening parasites our pets can carry, but a simple monthly dose of Advocate keeps them happy and healthy – and they are much better couch buddies!

Written by Rachele Lowe

Whether it’s pampered pooches or fussy felines our relationships with our domestic creatures is unrivalled. Here to shed light on how to care for our much-loved family animals is experienced Vet Dr. Rachele Lowe. With extensive training in Surgery and interests in Animal Behaviour, Rachele will be on hand to help pet-lovers exclusively for The Carousel.
Contact: editor@thecarousel.com

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