Educational Articles

Cats + Parasites

  • One of the most common conditions affecting cats is allergy. An allergy occurs when the cat's immune system "overreacts" to foreign substances called allergens or antigens. Allergens and antigens are simply foreign proteins that the body's immune system tries to remove.

  • Atovaquone is given by mouth and is used off-label to treat protozoal infections. Give as directed. Side effects are uncommon but may include stomach upset or skin rash. Do not use in pets that are pregnant. If a negative reaction occurs, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • Azithromycin is given by mouth or injection and is used on and off-label to treat a variety of infections. Give as directed. Common side effects include stomach upset. Do not use in pets that are sensitive to macrolide antibiotics. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Capillaria is a small internal parasite, often less than half of a centimeter in length. They are closely related to intestinal worms, though they can live in a variety of locations within the body. Capillaria can affect both dogs and cats, although dogs are more frequently affected. Diagnosis can be difficult because the eggs of Capillaria are shed only on an intermittent basis. While the parasite is easily eliminated with a dewormer, your cat may require additional medications to decrease the inflammation associated with the infection.

  • Coccidiosis is an intestinal tract infection caused by a one-celled organism or protozoa called coccidia. In cats and dogs, most coccidia are of the genus called Isospora. Isospora felis and Isospora rivolta are the most common species of coccidia found in cats.

  • Cuterebra is the genus or scientific family name of the North American rabbit or rodent botfly. Twenty-six species of Cuterebra are known to occur in the United States and Canada. Cuterebra larvae develop within the tissues of certain animal hosts, and during this phase of their life cycle, they are commonly referred to as 'warbles'.

  • Cytauxzoonosis is an often-fatal disease caused by a tick-borne protozoan parasite, typically found in bobcats. It is more commonly seen in the southern United States but is spreading with tick migration. It can cause anorexia, lethargy, respiratory difficulty, anemia, and jaundice. Diagnostic testing, treatment options, and preventives are described in this handout. This disease is not transmissible to dogs or humans.

  • The ear mite Otodectes cynotis is a surface mite that lives on cats, dogs, rabbits and ferrets. It is usually found in the ear canal but it can also live on the skin surface. The entire ear mite life cycle takes place on animals.

  • Esafoxolaner + eprinomectin + praziquantel is given topically on the skin to treat and protect against various internal and external parasites and prevent heartworm in cats. Side effects are rare but may include hair loss at the application site, gastrointestinal upset, skin reactions, or neurologic signs. Use caution in sick or underweight cats. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • Demodicosis is a parasitic skin condition caused by Demodex mites. These microscopic mites can be found on the skin of all animals but, in some cases, they multiply to excessive levels and cause clinical signs. Signs vary depending on the species of mite involved, though generally involve hair loss, skin inflammation, and crusting. Demodex mites found on cats and dogs do not spread to humans.