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Felines and Fleas: A Dose of Prevention is Key

Apr 07, 2016 04:33AM ● Published by Family Features

(Family Features) It’s a common belief that indoor cats don’t need protection from parasites, such as fleas. While cats that stay indoors are at lower risk than those who spend the majority of time outside, the potential still exists for infestation. Preventive care is the most important step cat owners can take to help ensure a long and healthy life for their furry friends.

Even indoor cats can pick up fleas from the family dog that may not be displaying signs of an infestation, or from clothing, dirt tracked inside or items carried indoors.

Fleas can be more than an inconvenience; they can actually pose a significant health risk to your cat by passing along things like cat scratch fever and tapeworms. A cat that is allergic to fleas may experience intense itching, similar to a person who has contracted poison ivy. Also, it’s possible that flea bites or self-inflicted scratches may develop into an infection requiring medical attention.

The health risks to your cat can take an emotional and physical toll as you work to eradicate this pesky problem. A persistent flea infestation may require several months of thorough cleaning or even professional extermination, which may force the family to temporarily relocate to a non-toxic environment.

To fend off the preventable problems associated with fleas, get proactive and protect your cat with this advice from Chris Adolph, DVM, MS, DACVM, a board certified parasitologist, veterinary specialist at Zoetis and former veterinary practice owner in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

Recognize that flea protection should be year-round. With today’s highly variable weather patterns, preventive care even during the cooler months is the best approach. Planning a regular dosage schedule makes it less likely you will forget to administer a dose, and it covers gaps for a late start to winter or an early start to spring, when parasites may become active beyond the traditionally expected timeframes.

Broad-spectrum preventive care is best. With treatments available that offer protection against both internal and external parasites, it’s easy to maximize your cat’s preventative care. A single dose of a topical medication such as Revolution® (selamectin) controls five parasites – fleas, heartworms, roundworms (Toxocara cati), hookworms (Ancylostoma tubaeforme) and ear mites (Otodectes cynotis) – for one month. The treatment is FDA-approved and requires no separation from family or other pets after it is administered.

Rely on regular health screenings. Annual veterinarian screenings will help give you peace of mind that your cat is in good health and protected from parasitic infections. In addition to an overall checkup, your veterinarian may screen for intestinal parasites and make recommendations for any adjustments needed in your cat’s care.

Learn more about protecting your cat from common parasites and take The 9 Lies of Cats quiz for a chance to win a KitNipBox subscription at Revolution4Cats.com.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Do not use REVOLUTION on sick, weak or underweight cats. Use only on cats 8 weeks and older. Side effects may include digestive upset and temporary hair loss at application site with possible inflammation. In people, REVOLUTION may be irritating to skin and eyes. Wash hands after use. See full Prescribing Information.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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