We know, we know. Every year we ask you bring in your cat’s stool sample for the annual visit. The task is not exactly up there with your favorite things to do. Why do we make this high maintenance request of you each year, considering we dewormed your little one when he or she was a kitten?
Parasites are persistent, tiny organisms that stealthily enter (or re-enter) your cat’s system. Despite deworming during kittenhood, parasites have a unique ability to lie dormant in the muscle of a cat’s body. When they “hide,” they’re less likely to be treated by deworming treatments, which don’t kill them when they’re not active. Stress, age and other factors can awaken dormant parasites, and then when the cat is older, he or she can present with an active infection.
Untreated parasite infections can lead to serious complications, including vomiting, intestinal malabsorption and irritable bowel disease. And parasites are transmittable to people: giardia, for example, can shed cysts outside the feline body that emerge from your cat’s hair/coat.Think about that while your kitty snoozes on your favorite pillow...
Some cats are more at risk for internal parasites than others, namely those that venture outdoors (they’re also more at risk for fleas and ticks, but that’s another story). And outdoor cats are also more susceptible to roundworm, hookworm and giardia, to name a few.
The great outdoors is rife with parasitic organisms that thrive in the dirt and grass your cat strolls through, as well as the puddle of rainwater she drinks from -- not to mention the rodents she kills. Every outdoor step your cat takes is a risk for parasite contact.
Does that mean the indoor feline crew is safe? Not at all. Indoor cats are also vulnerable to parasites: leaves and tiny particles that blow into your house can contain parasites your cat can ingest. Also containing parasites is the dirt we track in on our shoes and the potting soil we use for our indoor houseplants (there’s a 20 percent chance it contains parasites).
Now you know why we “torture” you, our beloved clients, each year by asking you to excavate the litter box and place poop in a bag: so we can make sure your cat is not at risk for a parasitic infection. Because a healthy cat is the center of a happy family.
As always, NECC believes prevention is the best medicine, and we recommend year round use of monthly flea and heartworm prevention to ensure your cat is parasite-free. Check out our pharmacy store for parasite products we recommend and get your cat started today!