Parasites in cats
While it’s generally recommended that cats get flea and heartworm preventives, this is a
personal decision that each cat family should make based on complete information and
careful consideration. Talk to your veterinarian about the benefits versus the risks of
Flea preventive given at home once monthly.
Heartworm* preventive given at home once monthly. The heartworm preventives we recommend are available by prescription only. One is applied topically to the skin; the other is a chewable tablet. A current physical exam is required to make sure cats are healthy before preventives can be prescribed.
Deworming for intestinal parasites. The most common are:
Flea preventive can be given monthly at home.
Indoor cats should have an annual fecal test to check for these parasites prior to deworming. Outdoor cats should be dewormed 3 to 4 times a year.
Roundworm can infect
Roundworm can be spread to children and adults through contact with cat feces. Be sure to have your cat tested and/or dewormed.
Heartworm in cats causes Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD) which occurs when heartworm larva, passed by a mosquito, mature and settle in a cat’s lungs. The cat’s body reacts to the larva causing respiratory distress which can include coughing and increased lung sounds, often misdiagnosed as asthma or bronchitis. There is no cure for this disease.
Michigan has more reported cases of heartworm disease in cats than even some southern states. Mosquitoes are cold-blooded and can go dormant in your house. When they become active, this poses a danger for pets.
While it’s generally recommended that cats have several types of annual vaccines, The Cat Practice does not recommend over-vaccinating cats. We also stress that this is a personal decision that each cat family should make, based on complete information and careful consideration.
Talk to your veterinarian about the benefits versus the risks of these vaccines:
Annual rabies vaccine. The Cat Practice utilizes the Merial™ PUREVAX® Feline Rabies vaccine in cats 12 weeks of age and older. We consider this the safest rabies vaccine since it does NOT contain adjuvants, which have been linked to fast-growing cancerous tumors at the site of the vaccine (about 1 in 10,000 cats). In rare instances, the vaccine may cause lethargy, fever and inflammation.
Annual feline leukemia vaccine until 7-8 years of age. We recommend the Feline Leukemia vaccine only if your cat's risk of exposure is increased, such as by spending any time outdoors or if your home fosters rescue cats. This vaccine also does NOT contain adjuvants (same as Rabies vaccine above), and is administered through an injection under the skin.
FVRCP (Distemper) vaccine every 3 years after initial kitten series, until 7-8 years of age. The FVRCP vaccine is given as drops placed into the cat's nostrils. No needles are used. We consider this a SAFER vaccine. You may notice a little sneezing for a few days following the vaccine, which is normal. A small number of cats may experience runny eyes and/or nasal discharge. Vomiting may occur or, in rare instances, nasal or oral ulcers.
Find out more in
What every Feline Family should know: Vaccines
Also, see our info on Feline Leukemia.