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


If pet owners want to forego treatment because their kittens or cats remain indoors, remind them that queens can carry parasites like T. cati, insects and small rodents can carry parasite eggs or larvae indoors, and fleas can develop in some indoor locations. Plus, veterinarians know that many "indoor" pets are allowed brief periods of time outdoors, where they're exposed to eggs, larvae, fleas, and heartworm-infected mosquitos.

The CAPC guidelines recommend administering year-round heartworm prevention products with additional broad-spectrum activity against roundworms, hookworms, and other parasites as early as possible and throughout a pet's life. Several of the products in Table 1 are compatible with this recommendation and can be administered during the first veterinary visit or earlier. Revolution, Interceptor Flavor Tabs, and HeartGard for Cats have label claims against heartworms, fleas, or both. Additional claims against T. cati, A. tubaeforme, Ancylostoma braziliense, or a combination of these parasites are also beneficial. Revolution comes in a topical formulation, providing added convenience for pet owners.

Other published guidelines for controlling feline parasites and other zoonotic agents include the Guidelines for Veterinarians: Prevention of Zoonotic Transmission of Ascarids and Hookworms of Dogs and Cats, from the CDC's division of parasitic diseases ( http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/ascaris/prevention.htm) and the Feline Zoonoses Guidelines from the American Association of Feline Practitioners ( http://www.aafponline.org/about_guidlines.htm). Both contain recommendations similar to the CAPC guidelines.

If you haven't already, take the initiative and implement comprehensive parasite control strategies in your practice today. By combining proper diagnostic techniques with the appropriate, broad-spectrum control products, you'll prevent parasites from jeopardizing the health of your feline patients and their owners.

Suggested reading Blagburn BL. A review of common internal parasites in cats. The Veterinary CE Advisor: An update on feline parasites. Vet Med 2000;95:3-11.

Blagburn BL. Problems associated with intestinal parasites in cats. DVM Newsmagazine 2002;suppl May DVM Best Practices:12-17.

Bowman DD, Hendrix CM, Lindsay DS, et al. Feline clinical parasitology. Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publishing, 2002.

Akao N, Takayanagi TH, Suzuki R, et al. Ocular larva migrans caused by Toxocara cati in Mongolian gerbils and a comparison of ophthalmologic findings with those produced by T. canis. J Parasitol 2000;86:1133-1135.

Eberhard ML, Alfano E. Adult Toxocara cati infections in U.S. children: Report of four cases. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1998;59:404-406.

Carleton R, Tolbert MK, et al. Prevalence of Dirofilaria immitis and gastrointestinal helminths in cats euthanized at animal control agencies in northwest Georgia. Vet Parasitol 2004;119:319-326.

Nolan TJ, Smith G. Time series analysis of the prevalence of endoparasitic infections in cats and dogs presented to a veterinary teaching hospital. Vet Parasitol 1995;59(2):87-96.

Fisher M. Toxocara cati: An underestimated zoonotic agent. Trends Parasitol 2003;19:167-170.

Dr. Byron L. Blagburn is professor of parasitology in the Department of Pathobiology at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine. He received his master of science degree in parasitology from Andrews University and his doctor of philosophy degree in parasitology from the University of Illinois. Dr. Blagburn received the Beecham Award for Research Excellence in 1987.


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