Worming and Parasite Prevention

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, as mentioned elsewhere, we worm with Pyrantel Pamoate at three weeks, once a day for three days, and then once a week for three weeks and then quarterly for life. After six months we use a stronger wormer such as Ivermectin, however we alternate with Strongid or Nemex to keep the parasites from developing an immunity. Routine fecal checks can let you know if there is a problem in full bloom, but often the storm may be brewing with no signs in the stool. Virtually all animals are parasitized to one extent or another and low levels may not make themselves apparent, but left untreated severe and profound symptoms can develop. A heavy infestation of round worms may cause diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, emaciation and eventually death. As a preventative we maintain a vigilant worming program.

RoundwormsAscarids IvermectinStrongidNemex 2 doses 10 days apart OralOralSafe for kittens
Hookworms IvermectinStrongidNemex 2 doses 10 daysapart OralOralSafe for kittens
Whipworms IvermectinStrongidNemex 2 doses 10 daysapart OralOralSafe for kittens
Tapeworms DroncitPanacur 1 dose 3 months apart Oral or injectableOral
Flukes Mebendazole 3 to 5 doses Rare in cats
Coccidia Albon 5 to 10 doses Oral
Mange Mites Ivermectin 1 to 2 doses Oral or injectable
Toxoplasma SulphadiazineClyndamycin 1 dose Rare in Exotics
Fleas Advantage monthly doses Kills fleas dead !!!

Little kittens and cubs will often take these medications orally. We use a clean 3 cc syringe and draw out the label recommended dosage, based on weight and then remove the needle. We stick the syringe in the kits mouth and depress the plunger. By the time the cat is a year old, you may have to get more creative. Most wormers don’t taste too bad (I always taste them myself before expecting a cat to) and if the cat is on a soft food diet, you might be able to mix it in. Let the cat skip a meal and then offer the medicated food. Only mix and offer a small portion to ensure that he eats the entire dosage.

Tiger Chewing on Bones

If you feed solid food you can use a needle and syringe to inject the wormer into a favorite treat. Deer or goat meat is great but hard for us to come by, so we usually offer the medication in a gizzard or two. You may have to inject several gizzards with just a little so that it does not leak out. Ivermectin tastes bitter and gizzards don’t hold much. We offer a few gizzards that are not medicated first so that if the cat suspects anything, they will chew the first few. When they are wolfing them down you can toss in the treated ones. We offer gizzard treats to all of the cats, every morning for two reasons: First of all, they always come running for it, because they only get one or two and if they don’t come running then we know to look for symptoms of some impending plague and Second; they consider this normal behavior, so when we come out in the morning every third month with the treated gizzards, they don’t suspect anything weird is going on.

We treat the cats ears for earmites, whether they have them or not, twice a year when we are vaccinating everyone. Ear mites can cause severe damage and are as prevalent in cats as are fleas. When you look in the cat’s ears, they should be clean and pink and should not smell bad. If the cat shakes his head, paws at his ears, or has fluid seeping out of them, or has what looks like black dirt, or waxy residue, then the cat may have ear mites. The prevention never hurt anyone and it can save a lot of agony for both of you later.

We mix 1 part Ivermectin injectable for cattle and 10 parts mineral oil in a cup. We use the 3 cc syringes (without needles) and draw up 1 cc for smaller cats and 2 cc’s for larger cats While the cat is in the net (See the chapter on vaccinations) we pull an ear out through the holes in the netting and squirt 1 or 2 cc’s of the mixture into the ear opening. Rub at the base of the ear to be sure that it gets worked in and not shaken out. Be very careful not to get it in your eyes or the cats as it burns. This is a little harder to do in a squeeze cage, but it is possible. Even if the cat will let you give injections without a fuss, you will probably not get away with treating both ears without some restraint. We have a very old Canadian Lynx who we rescued from a fur farm who will allow us to treat her ears and give injections and sometimes even subcutaneous fluids without any restraint, but she is an exceptional cat.

External parasites also known as Ectoparasites consist primarily of fleas, ticks, ear mites and mange mites (or scabies). See the Chapter on FLEAS for more detailed prevention and treatment of these pest. Probably due to our worm prevention program, we have never had a case of mange mites in our permanent residents, however, it seems to be quite pervasive in new arrivals. It is a disgusting looking condition, usually most noticeable on the nose and ears. It looks like a huge build up of crust on the nose and the ears look ragged around the edges. After a couple of doses of Ivermectin, the crusts fall off and the skin underneath looks like new. We have seen cases so severe that after the treatment it looked like the cats nose had fallen off and in the wild it is often fatal.

Ticks carry disease and can cause paralysis in some cases. You can pull the tick off with tweezers, but be sure to get the head out as failure to do so can cause harm to the cat. Burn or flush the tick. We used to recommend that a hot match head be touched to the tick to make it let go, however our Veterinarian told us this is an old wives tail, and reminded us that many cats are coated in alcohol based flea sprays and could ignite if someone were lighting matches in the close vicinity.

Note: I am not a veterinarian. Please consult with a licensed veterinarian if your exotic cat is dehydrated.

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