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Why are ticks dangerous for cats?

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With the arrival of warm weather, all wildlife becomes active, including ticks, which pose a serious threat not only to humans, but also to your pets. Not only street cats, but also pets can experience this disease. The main danger associated with a tick bite is the possibility of transmitting various infections that can cause serious harm to the cat's health, and in some cases even lead to fatal consequences.

General information about ticks

Ticks belong to the subclass of arthropods from the class of arachnids, and more than 54 thousand species of this species are currently known. These microscopic creatures prefer moist and shady places such as forests, parks, soil, and there are also species that live in water. The activity of ticks comes at above-zero temperatures, while in winter they enter diapause, or a state of hibernation.

It is important to note that not all types of ticks are bloodsuckers; most of them feed on moss, plant debris and fungi. However, the main danger associated with ticks is the possibility of transmitting various diseases, which, if treated incorrectly or delayed, can lead to serious health problems or even death.

How can your pet become infected?

It is believed that a cat living exclusively indoors cannot be at risk of becoming infected with ticks. However, this statement is not true. Ticks can even find their prey inside your home.

There are several ways that mites can appear on a cat:

  1. The most common source of tick bites is your pet walking outside. This is especially true for cats that roam freely outside the city, where there is a lot of vegetation that provides convenient conditions for ticks. However, even in the city, on the lawn near your house, your cat can become a victim of a tick.
  2. Contact with other animals also poses a risk of tick infestation. For example, if your cat is not outdoors, but you have a dog that you walk frequently, ticks may be carried from the outdoors by your dog and transferred to your indoor cat.
  3. Pets can become infected with ticks even through human contact. You yourself can bring parasites on your clothes after a walk in nature or even with you into the house, for example, with a basket of mushrooms or a bouquet of flowers collected in the forest.

Therefore, regularly checking your pets for ticks is an important preventative measure.

Why are ticks dangerous for cats?

The tick bite itself is not dangerous. The bite wound is usually small and heals quickly. However, the real threat lies in the infections that ticks can transmit.

Let's consider some of them:

  1. Lyme disease or borreliosis: This is an acute bacterial disease that is dangerous for both people and cats. Symptoms may include lethargy, fever, joint problems, and decreased appetite. Lyme disease affects the joints and can cause neurological damage.
  2. Tularemia: This disease is characterized by fever and damage to internal organs. It can be transmitted to humans and poses a fairly dangerous threat, in extreme cases leading to the death of a pet.
  3. Hemobartonellosis: This is an infectious disease that, although not dangerous to humans, causes loss of appetite, heart problems and rapid breathing in cats.
  4. Theileriosis: This is a rare and extremely dangerous infectious disease that affects the internal organs and bone marrow of cats. This infection does not pose a danger to humans.

If ticks are found, it is important to closely monitor your pet's condition. If his condition worsens, you should contact your veterinarian for further examination and treatment.

What symptoms appear when a tick bites?

The following symptoms may indicate that your pet may have an infection:

  1. Heavy breathing and shortness of breath in your pet.
  2. Fever and increased body temperature in your cat.
  3. Lack of appetite or complete refusal of food in your pet.
  4. Limping, discomfort when moving, or complete loss of mobility in your cat.
  5. Weakness, apathy and constant drowsiness in your animal.
  6. Diarrhea and the appearance of various skin irritations.

To confirm infection and establish a diagnosis, you must consult a veterinarian.

Types of ticks that can be found on cats

In order to properly identify what may be bothering your pet, it is important to understand that there are different types of ticks, not just blood-sucking ones.

Let's look at each of them in more detail:

  1. Ixodid ticks: This is the most common species, which attaches to the body and feeds on the blood of the animal.
  2. Ear mites: They are impossible to detect with the naked eye due to their microscopic size. Signs of ear mites include restless behavior, frequent head shaking, and ear scratching.
  3. Subcutaneous parasites: They are very small and difficult to see without special equipment. They live in the sweat and salivary glands or hair follicles, causing skin diseases, hair loss and itching.

It is important to note that all of these diseases are treatable, and seeking help early is key.

How to properly remove a tick?

If you notice a tick on your pet and it has not yet had time to attach itself, then you have a good opportunity to avoid problems. Always wear gloves before removing a tick to protect yourself from possible infection. Then carefully remove the tick and the best way to get rid of it is to burn it.

If the tick has already attached itself, here are several ways to remove it from your pet’s body:

  1. Tweezers: Use pointed tweezers after treating the bite area with alcohol. Gently grasp the tick and twist it counterclockwise in a slow circular motion without squeezing the body.
  2. A thread: Tie a strong thread near the tick's proboscis and slowly pull it up.
  3. Hand in gauze: Use your fingers wrapped in sterile gauze and make circular movements to twist out the parasite.
  4. Twister: Buy the Twister device at the pharmacy. This is a small hook in which you place the tick, and then, using a circular motion, turn it out.

If the tick head comes off during removal, don't worry. You can pick it up with a hot needle or wait until your pet’s body pushes it out on its own. In any case, always consult a doctor if necessary, following sterile procedures. The removed tick can be sent to a laboratory to identify possible infections.

How are cats treated and prevented?

If your pet's condition worsens after a tick bite, contact your veterinarian immediately. He will conduct a diagnosis, determine the type of infection and develop a drug treatment plan.

In case of infection with ear or subcutaneous mites, various ointments, drops and sprays are often prescribed. In more advanced cases, injections may be required.

When ticks are active, regularly checking your cats for parasites is important. If your pets go outside, the use of special collars and regular treatment with medications against external parasites (ticks, fleas and other insects) is recommended.

Ticks can be a problem for both people and pets. With caution and timely intervention, it is possible to prevent serious consequences.

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