Parasite Control for Cats


Fleas are a very common problem in cats and dogs, and most will suffer from a flea burden at some point in their lives. Cats are more prone to fleas than dogs,  with 1:10 dogs and 1:5 cats being affected at any one time.

We recommend preventative treatments for the control of fleas. A monthly spot-on can protect your pet and family from the nuisance of flea bites. Fleas can cause anaemia in extreme cases and are also responsible for the transfer of tapeworms in cats. This is particularly prevalent in cats that are hunters. Prescription only medicines are prescribed to animals under our care, but for animals we have not seen, alternative products are available over the counter.

However, fleas found on pets are, in fact, the minority when compared to their environment; a mere 5% of the problem is seen on the animal with a whopping 95% of the problem existing as unseen eggs, larvae and pupae in the environment. A statement that always gets us itching!

We always recommend treating the pets environment with an Insect Growth Regulator Spray, which can be obtained from the practice. We recommend that this is carried out annually to prevent an infestation from occurring. Unfortunately, there is a stage of the flea life cycle that we are unable to destroy. This means that sometimes it can be some weeks before a flea problem can be completely under control, even when treated properly. For this reason, we always recommend preventative consistent flea treatment to stop an infestation from getting a hold of your household.


Cats often become infected with intestinal worms.  It is often not obviously evident to tell if a cat or dog is infected with intestinal worms, because there are commonly no clinical signs until the infestation has become overwhelming. Clinical signs, if present, may include general ill health, a dull coat, lethargy and in the latter stages can cause weight loss, anaemia, vomiting and diarrhoea. By the time these signs are evident, worms could be damaging  pet health.

There are different types of intestinal worm that commonly cause problems for our pets in the UK.

Roundworms, or Nematodes, are white or beige in colour and are coiled. They can grow to a length of 18cm and, in a heavy burden, may be noticeable in pet faeces or vomit. Roundworms that affect cats in the UK are Toxocara cati and Toxocaris leonine.

Hookworms, although not indigenous to this country they may be found in imported cats in quarantine or travelling under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). Hookworms that can affect cats are called Ancylostoma tubaeforme and Ancylostoma braziliense.

Tapeworms, or Cestodes, and white or pale beiege in colour and are made up of segments that resemble grains of rice. These segments are filled with eggs. Often, these segments are evacuated from a pets anus and moving segments can be seen around a pet’s bottom or evident in fresh faeces. Tapeworms found in UK cats are called Dipylidium caninum (flea tapeworm) and Taenia taeniaeformis. Other species of tapeworm have also been found in imported cats.

It is important to understand that tapeworms cannot be transmitted from cat to cat; they require an intermediate host such as a flea. Transmission occurs by the cat ingesting the infected flea while grooming themselves; the tapeworm then matures inside the cat intestinal tract. Tapeworms can grow incredibly large – up to 50cms in length! Other tapeworm are acquired during hunting, scavenging or eating raw meat.

We follow BSAVA (British Small Animal Veterinary Association) guidelines and recommend worming cats every 3 months, or more often if your cat is a known hunter or scavenger.

There are many different types of wormers on the market: spot on treatments, oral liquid/paste or tablets. It is important to consider what option is best for your pet. It is also vital that we consider flea prevention when recommending a worming program, to prevent the transmission of tapeworm via fleas.


These unsightly creatures are members of the spider family, and are arachnids. They can be picked up from woodlands, urban parks and even the garden. Ticks feed on blood that they retract by piercing the skin with tough mouthparts. They are placed very tightly to the skin and cement themselves in place until they have finished feeding. After feeding, they will drop off.

Ticks can be very irritating to pets, and can cause pain and discomfort. Ticks are also fantastic at transmitting diseases to both pets and humans. Ticks can be removed manually, but this must be done carefully to avoid pulling the body from the mouth parts and causing your pet to form an abscess. It is best to seek veterinary advice on the best form of removal before attempting yourself! The good news is that there is a 48 hour window between tick attachment and the likely time of disease transmission; this means that just because your pet has a tick, they do not necessarily have a disease!

There are many options available to your pet, from products that repel them, to products that kill them within 24 hours, to tick removal tools. If you would like to discuss the best option for your pet, please contact us at the surgery. Tick treatments tend to be combined with other parasite prevention treatments, and so it is best to consider the best protection for each individual.