Animal Care 101: Veterinarian Tips

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Are Fleas To Blame For Your Cat's Diarrhea?

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Fleas can do a lot of negative things for a cat. They can spread blood-borne diseases, cause anemia, and make a kitty feel itchy all over with flea dermatitis. Unfortunately, that's not the limit of what a flea can do to a cat. If your cat has diarrhea and fleas, there's a good chance that the two are connected. Read on to learn how fleas can cause diarrhea and what you should do about it.

Worms and Fleas

One of the leading causes of diarrhea in cats who have fleas is worms. Tapeworms are spread to cats not by other cats, but actually through fleas. Fleas carry tapeworm larvae inside their own bodies. When a flea bites your cat and consumes its blood, it often leaves behind what's referred to as 'flea dirt', which is actually flea fecal matter.

Tapeworm larvae emerge in the flea dirt, which your cat then sometimes consumes while it's grooming itself. Unfortunately, this leads to a full-fledged tapeworm hatching in your cat's intestines, which is understandably irritating to the cat's stomach. Your cat may have diarrhea or vomit as a result.

Treating Worms

Thankfully, getting rid of a tapeworm infestation is relatively easy. All you need to do is to take your cat to a veterinary clinic. Your vet will examine your kitty to check for signs of tapeworms, and they may ask you a few questions about your cat's pooping problem.

If your vet determines that your cat is likely to have tapeworms, they will prescribe a medication to kill the tapeworms that are living in your cat's gut. Depending on the type of medication and the severity of the infestation, it may be one dose or many. The tapeworm(s) will soon die and will leave the body in your cat's stool. The stomach problems should clear up soon after the tapeworm is gone.

Preventing Future Infections

While your cat will experience immediate relief once the tapeworm is gone, you'll still need to take steps to prevent further infestations.

If you're already treating your cat for fleas, you're doing the right thing. However, not all flea treatments are equal. Some do a better job than others, and some fleas develop regional resistance to certain flea medications. Talk to your veterinarian if you think your anti-flea treatments aren't working properly.

If you've never treated your cat for fleas before, you should also check with your vet. They'll be able to set you on the right track so you don't choose a medication that fleas have already built up a resistance to in your area.

Cats deserve a flea-free and tapeworm-free life, and you deserve to not have to clean up unwanted messes because your cat is sick. By beating fleas and tapeworms, your cat's life and yours will both improve.