New strategies for successful feline parasite control - DVM
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New strategies for successful feline parasite control
A wide variety of broad-spectrum agents offer much-needed protection for cats.

DVM Best Practices

Figure 5 Adult female ear mite (Otodectes cynotis). This parasite commonly causes inflammation in cats' external ears.
Both fleas and ear mites can be controlled with many of the approved agents listed in Table 1. Interestingly, a number of published studies indicate that certain ectoparasiticides are also effective in eliminating N. cati, C. blakei, and F. subrostratus, although these products do not carry label claims against them.

Control strategies Before deciding on treatment and selecting a product, it's important to discuss prevention strategies with clients, such as those presented in Table 3. It's equally important to perform the most sensitive tests available for an accurate diagnosis, especially when conducting fecal examinations. Be sure to obtain adequate sample sizes and use centrifugal flotation diagnostic procedures. An adequate fecal sample size is 1 gram (a cube about 1/2 in on a side).

Table 2 Less Common Ectoparasites of Cats
For recommendations on heartworm testing in at-risk cats, consult the 2005 Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) guidelines ( The difficulty of diagnosing feline heartworm infections and the unpredictable disease episodes associated with them make these guidelines particularly helpful.

When selecting a product for successful feline parasite control, consider the following:
  • the biology and behavior of feline parasites
  • primary parasitic disease control in cats
  • zoonotic disease prevention in people
  • maximum owner compliance
  • the spectrum of parasites controlled
  • the effective monitoring of parasiticide usage

And remember: Controlling common internal parasites, such as roundworms and hookworms, should begin in kittens. The highest contamination rates with parasite eggs occur during the first year of a cat's life. Kittens begin shedding roundworm eggs at about 8 weeks of age; hookworm eggs appear in feces within 3 to 4 weeks of age.

An effective control strategy for kittens and young cats, and one that complies with published guidelines, is to treat kittens with effective anthelmintics, such as pyrantel pamoate, beginning at 3 weeks of age and continuing every two weeks until kittens are 8 to 9 weeks old. Treatment initiated at three weeks will eliminate roundworms and hookworms that may be present but aren't producing substantial numbers of eggs.

At 8 to 9 weeks of age, kittens can be placed on effective, broad-spectrum, monthly products that also prevent heartworm infection (Revolution, HeartGard for Cats, Interceptor) or heartworms, fleas, and Otodectes cynotis (Revolution). Note that Interceptor and Revolution are effective against T. cati and A. tubaeforme; HeartGard for Cats is effective against A. tubaeforme and A. braziliense (Table 1).

Feline Parasite And Zoonosis Prevention Strategies
You should also treat queens with broad-spectrum, monthly products throughout pregnancy. This will help prevent environmental contamination and reduce egg numbers. A queen's exposure to eggs can lead to parasite accumulation in her tissues, which may later infect her offspring.


Source: DVM Best Practices,
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