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Veterinarian holding a cat

Cat Deworming

Cats can be infected with different types of parasites (worms) such as roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms, as well as coccidia and giardia. They can become infected in different ways, such as contact with outdoor cats or wildlife, hunting, or ingesting infected feces. Cats that are completely indoors (and never go outside at all) are at lower risk, but can still come in contact with parasites. For this reason, we recommend routine fecal tests and deworming for all kittens and all-new cats to the household, as well as for adult cats who go outside, and we recommend a routine fecal test at the annual exam for indoor cats.

What are some types of parasites found in cats?

Roundworms are one of the most common parasites we see in cats. A cat can get roundworms by eating infective worm eggs from their environment, eating prey (usually mice) that is carrying the worms, or a nursing mother can transmit them to her kittens.

Fleas carry tapeworms, and when a cat with fleas is grooming, they will ingest the flea and become infected with tapeworms. Unfortunately, tapeworms sometimes do not show up on fecal tests (false negative). Therefore, any cat with fleas should also be treated for tapeworms.

Hookworms are transmitted by environmental contact or by eating an infected prey animal such as mice or certain insects.

Giardia and Coccidia are microscopic parasites that are commonly transmitted through contact with infected fecal material from other animals, cats, dogs and wildlife.

If my cat has worms, what symptoms should I look for?

In some cases, you may notice changes in your cat’s feces, such as diarrhea or blood. You may even see worms in the feces. But often there are no visible signs in the cat or the feces – the only way to know for sure it to test.

Are worms dangerous to humans?

Some of these parasites can be transmitted to humans, especially anyone who is pregnant or has a compromised immune system. Generally, the transmission is through the fecal-oral route (fecal material from the pet coming in contact with the person’s mouth).

What is the deworming schedule?

The specific medication and schedule will vary based on the type of parasite. In general, there will be either a tablet or a liquid medication that is given at home for a set period of time, followed by a recheck fecal sample to ensure the infection is gone. For kittens, we recommend routine deworming with a safe and effective medication, in addition to treatment for any specific parasites they may have. For adult cats who spend time outside unsupervised or who are known hunters, we recommend a tablet that treats roundworms and tapeworms and should be given at least every 6 months.

Are there any side effects from deworming medication?

In general, we do not see any side effects when these medications are administered appropriately, although we will sometimes see softer stool while giving the medication. If you notice anything of concern with your pet, please let us know.

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Dog thinking about ticks and fleas

Year-round protection means more peace of mind!

“Tick season” used to mean spring/summer/fall, with a break over the winter – the colder weather meant that we could take a break from worrying about these pesky bugs and the diseases they can transmit. But in the last few years, we’ve seen a change creeping up on us, with the weather staying warm later into the season, and spring arriving earlier each year – and the bugs are loving it! You may have already heard us talking about how any day that the temperature is above the freezing point, ticks are potentially active. This past year, we had days above 0°C in all 12 months! Ticks aren’t killed by the cold, they simply go dormant, waiting until it’s warm enough to come back out – so last year, even January and February had days warm enough for ticks to be active! This means that we are now recommending that all dogs (and cats that go outdoors) take advantage of year-round flea and tick protection. There are several options, our first choice being an all-in-one that protects against fleas, ticks, and heartworm, as well as providing regular deworming against roundworms. One pill, once a month – what could be simpler? If your pet is already on a monthly preventative, all you need to do is pick up a refill and continue throughout the winter months. If your pet hasn’t yet started on comprehensive parasite prevention, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have and set you up with the best option for your pet. What does this mean for testing? The 4DX test that we recommend most commonly screens for heartworm disease, Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes (so every dog in Ontario is potentially at risk – at Westbridge we treat a few cases every year!), and the others are all transmitted via tick bites. We have seen an increase in Lyme-positive dogs in the last few years, one of the reasons we are recommending some of these changes. For better early detection and the safety of your pet, we are recommending annual 4DX testing for all dogs. This simple blood test can be done at any time, although the optimal time is in the spring. Catching disease early is key to successful treatment – and no matter how careful you are with preventative medications, there is always some risk of infection. As always, our veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians are available to answer any questions you may have about the best options for your pet. Email us at info@westbridgevet.com, or call us at 905-285-0002

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Last updated: December 17, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 19, 2020 some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

- Monday to Friday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Saturday: 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
- Sunday: CLOSED

4. NEW PET OWNERS

Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

Your dedicated team at Westbridge Veterinary Hospital