How to identify a tick on my cat?

How To Identify A Tick On My Cat?

Ticks are potentially dangerous for pets. Both dogs and cats can be the target of these disease-carrying parasites. If you have a cat, and it has access to the outdoors, then the risk of ticks is higher. You have to play the prevention card by applying a pest control every 3 months. It is also important to know how to identify and remove a tick. Here are all our tips for dealing with this situation.

What is a tick?

Ticks are metastigmatic mites of the order Acarina arachnids, which explains why these parasites have 8 legs. The scientific name for the tick is ixodida. There are 896 species! Ticks are distinguished from other parasites by their size, which can reach 6 mm. They are large parasites.

Ticks are ectoparasites, which means that they live on a host’s body. It can be a cat, a dog and even a human. Present in nature, they cling to the hair or clothing of their host and then reach the skin. To carry out their ascent, they use their hooks, also called rostrums. Ticks feed on the blood of the animals they live on. They can represent a risk because with their saliva, they can transmit diseases to their host.

How to identify a tick on a cat?

If your cat goes out regularly, you need to check that he hasn’t caught ticks. But how ? If you brush your cat regularly, you can take the opportunity to carry out a check. Here are some tricks to recognize this parasite.

    • Ticks are small parasites. They are round and brown. The presence of legs confirms that it is a tick. If you don’t see any, then it may be a lump. It is possible that the tick is gray. This means it is full. In this case, its size can reach 1 cm.
    • Ticks like to settle in less hairy areas of animals. It is therefore important to check the area of ​​​​the ears and paws. Vigilance is required with long-haired cats.
    • Some areas have more ticks than others. This is the case if you live in a rural area and especially if there are animals around your home such as cows, sheep or even deer.

If you notice that your cat has a tick, it must be removed as soon as possible. No need to call a vet, you can do it yourself. Here are two methods to achieve this.

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How To Remove A Tick From Your Cat?

How To Use A Tick Remover On Your Cat?

Does your cat have a tick? You need to remove the parasite quickly. To do this, take a tick puller, also called a tick tweezer. This tool looks like a miniature crowbar. You will find it in pharmacies, pet stores or supermarkets.

Here’s how.

    • Locate the tick and immobilize your cat. Get help if necessary.
    • Slide the hook of the tick remover under the tick so that it is at skin level.
    • Use a circular motion to remove the tick.
    • Disinfect the skin and wash your hands.

It is important not to shoot the tick. The body of the parasite can detach from the head. You must then use tweezers to remove the remaining part.

How to remove a tick without tweezers?

You don’t have a tick remover? Have you lost yours? Rest assured, it is possible to proceed otherwise. But first, put on disposable gloves.

  • Locate the tick and immobilize your cat. Get help if necessary.
  • Catch the tick without squeezing it. If it empties into your cat, the risk of disease is higher.
  • Turn the tick gently so that its hooks come off.
  • If the tick doesn’t come off entirely, you can use tweezers to remove the remains, most often the head.

Mistakes To Avoid

Many people mistakenly apply ether or alcohol before removing a tick. This is a practice to avoid because the tick can regurgitate and contaminate your cat. You should also know that it is important to kill the tick. If you don’t, she will find herself a new host. For this, you need to put the tick in alcohol or burn it.

Of course, removing a tick can be difficult if your cat won’t let it go. However, you have to stay calm. Do not get angry and above all do not show violence. If you cannot remove the tick, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

What Are The Risks Of A Tick Bite?

If it is so important to remove a tick, it is because the bite of this parasite is potentially dangerous. Here are the risks of a tick bite.

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The risk of allergy

Often we associate tick bites with diseases. This is not a mistake and we will see that many pathologies can occur as a result of a bite. However, you should also know that the saliva of a tick is highly allergic. Signs that indicate your cat is having an allergic reaction to the presence of metastigmatal mites are hives, dermatitis, or edema. In the most serious cases, your cat can go into anaphylactic shock. Emergency treatment is then essential because his life is in danger.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is known and associated with tick bites. This is a good thing because this pathology is dangerous. Also called borreliosis, this infectious disease originates from a bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. The tick transmits it to its host at the time of the bite and therefore directly into the blood. Transmission of Lyme disease is only possible if the parasite remains attached for more than 48 hours. This is why it is necessary to check the presence of ticks very regularly.

In cats, the symptoms of Lyme disease are:

  • moderate fever,
  • Weakness, fatigue,
  • loss of appetite,
  • Anemia,
  • Joint pain (arthritis and polyarthritis),
  • kidney failure,
  • heart failure,
  • Inflammation of the lymph nodes,
  • Redness.

The incubation period for Lyme disease is very long in cats. Signs may appear several months after the bite. The diagnosis is difficult, a blood test is necessary to confirm Lyme disease.

Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis is an infectious disease which, like Lyme disease, can be transmitted by a tick bite. Ehrlichiosis causes infection of the blood. The incubation period lasts 30 days and then gives way to an acute phase. The disease is difficult to diagnose. However, it is possible to identify symptoms that are:

  • A high fever, above 39°C,
  • loss of appetite,
  • weight loss,
  • A great tiredness.

Ehrlichiosis can then become chronic. Acute phases and latency periods follow one another. Over the weeks, if your cat is not treated, new symptoms appear including:

  • The presence of blood in the urine and mucous membranes,
  • Digestive disorders such as vomiting and diarrhea,
  • Joint pain.
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If you have any doubts, you should of course make an appointment quickly with your veterinarian. Early treatment is the best solution to combat the disease, which can be fatal.

Anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis is also an infectious disease. It is caused by a bacteria called Anaplasma phagocytophilum. This disease develops when a tick remains in place for more than 24 hours. The incubation period is about 2 weeks. The signs are:

    • moderate to high fever,
    • loss of appetite,
    • A reduction,
    • joint pain,
    • Digestive disorders,
    • The presence of blood in the stool and urine.

Anaplasmosis can be treated with antibiotic treatment. Improvement is rapid. After only 2 days of treatment, your companion will be better!

Piroplasmosis

Piroplasmosis is a very common so-called vector-borne disease. It is caused by a blood parasite of the protozoan family, the Babesia canis. This is why the disease is also called babesiosis. Piroplasmosis leads to lysis of red blood cells and increased bilirubin levels in the blood.

The signs of the disease are:

  • A high fever of more than 40°C,
  • A big drop,
  • A dark color of the urine,
  • chronic diarrhea,
  • Very clear mucous membranes,
  • Nervous disorders.

How To Prevent Ticks In Cats?

It is important to know how to identify a tick but also to know how to remove it. However, focusing on prevention is just as important. Give your cat an antiparasitic treatment every 3 months. This most often takes the form of a pipette that is applied to the neck. As we have already specified, brushing is important. In addition to reducing hairballs in the stomach and beautifying your pet’s coat.

If your cat spends time in your garden, mow the lawn regularly. Be more attentive in spring and autumn, ticks appreciate mild temperatures and humidity. It is also important to wash the cat’s belongings at more than 60°C.

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