Why Anesthesia Is Safer For Dog Dental Cleanings

cat lying down

Unless you are a very new pet owner, chances at that you have already had some experience of dealing with fleas. These tiny, indiscriminate parasites are well known for affecting cats, dogs and other small mammals across the United States and most owners will find that their pet is affected at least once during their lifetime.

Unfortunately, flea infestations are extremely unpleasant for everyone living in your home whether human or animal and getting rid of these parasites from your pet and property can be a lengthy, expensive and time-consuming process. This is because fleas reproduce at an astronomical rate, and since approximately only 5% of any infestation is made up of adult fleas, you will have a countless number of eggs and larvae to contend with. These are microscopic and are usually buried in hard-to-reach places such as under furniture and between gaps in your floorboards. On average, it takes as long as 3 months to completely eradicate fleas from your home.

Fleas = Disease!

However, it is not just their overwhelming numbers that is the problem with a flea infestation. Fleas are parasitic, meaning that they live on the blood of their host. If they take blood from an animal with a disease, they can pass this on to their next meal, which could be your pet. Some of the diseases carried by fleas can make your feline furbaby very unwell.

Let’s take a look at some of the flea-borne diseases that can make your cat sick.


Tapeworm is another type of parasite, but this is one that lives inside your pet, depriving her of nutrients so that it can survive. For your pet to become infected with tapeworm, your cat must actually ingest an infected flea, rather than be bitten by one. This often happens when your furbaby is grooming herself.

Once she has ingested the infected flea, the tapeworm embryos that it contains will migrate to your cat’s intestinal wall where they will mature and feed off of the partly digested food that she has eaten.

Tapeworm infections can be tricky to spot as many cats do not show signs of sickness. However, you may be able to spot bits of tapeworm in your cat’s feces which look like white rice grains. She might also scoot her bottom along the ground as the tapeworms can cause irritation. If she has a severe infestation, she may experience weight loss and the quality of her coat may be compromised. This is due to the tapeworms consuming the nutrients she needs to remain healthy.

Fortunately, tapeworms can be treated using anti-worming medications and your cat should make a full recovery.


Tularemia is a bacterial disease that is better known as ‘rabbit fever’ since it is more commonly seen in rabbits and rodents. However, it can affect our feline friends too, although cases are relatively care. Your cat may contract Tularemia if they eat an infected rodent.

Symptoms of Tularemia include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes in the head and neck, jaundice, and abdominal pain. Unfortunately, there is no single test for Tularemia meaning that our vet will need to analyze various aspects of your cat’s health to make a diagnosis.

Tularemia is also zoonotic which means that it could potentially affect the humans in your home. This means that our veterinary team will need to wear protective clothing when handling your pet. Treatment is possible, but it must be aggressive and prompt. Unfortunately, even with early diagnosis and treatment, the fatality rate of this disease is still high.

Feline Infectious Anemia

Feline Infectious Anemia (FIA) infects the red blood cells and if enough are affected, anemia can develop. To further complicate matters, your cat’s immune system may attack the bacteria causing the condition, and this can damage the red blood cells further. If your cat is bitten by an infected flea, she may develop FIA.

The main symptoms of FIA include the usual indicators of anemia, as well as a raised temperature. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, pale gums and weakness/lethargy.

Thankfully, FIA can usually be treated using a course of fairly aggressive antibiotics. However, if the symptoms of the anemia are severe then blood transfusions may be necessary during the recovery period.


Rickettsial infections also target the red blood cells and can cause immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, a blood disorder that occurs when the number of platelets in the blood stream decreases. Rickettsia can develop when an infected flea bites your pet, or when flea bites are scratched, and the wound is contaminated with flea feces left on her skin.

Symptoms of a rickettsial infection include nausea, vomiting, lethargy, muscle spasms, edema and bruising/slow blood clotting. Rickettisa is also zoonotic meaning that it can potentially affect the humans living in your home.

Rickettsia can be treated with antibiotics which should be started as soon as the disease is suspected. This disease can be serious, and the earlier treatment is started, the more favorable the outcome for your pet is likely to be.

As you can see, fleas can put the health of your cat at risk. Prevention is always better than cure and there are a range of preventative treatments available that have been proven to be extremely successful in keeping fleas at bay. Keep your kitty safe and contact us today about flea prevention.

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Parkland Animal Clinic & Big Bear Pet Lodge​​​​​​​
8017 N. University Dr
Parkland, FL 33067

Fax: 954-757-3990
EMAIL US: Parklandanimalclinic@gmail.com