When we think about parasitic diseases in cats, we often think of fleas and heartworms; however, there are actually many more parasitic diseases that can harm the health of cats. Many of these parasitic diseases in cats can even be transmitted to humans, harming our own health. The parasites that can be found in cats can come in many different forms, each producing a variety of complications, which can range in severity.
Cheyletiella mites are most commonly found on dogs and cats, which is often referred to as “walking dandruff.” This parasite lives on the cat’s skin and causes skin irritation, such as dandruff and itching. The claw-like mouths found on these mites are responsible for causing the skin irritation, including red skin, hair loss, and bumps on the skin. Although, this bothersome parasite can be transmitted to humans, causing an itchy rash, the occurrence of this is rare. Treatment for this parasitic disease in cats requires medications and eliminating the parasites’ environment, making it difficult for the parasite to thrive.
Unlike Cheyletiella mites, the Cuterebra parasite lives under the skin of cats. Small mammals, such as cats, are prone to this parasitic disease, especially during the summer and fall months. This parasite is derived from the Cuterebra fly (botflies). In order for the fly to develop, the parasite must infect a host during the larvae stage, which is often done after the fly eggs stick to the cat’s fur and then later hatch, infecting the cat through the nose or mouth. The host must be used to complete the life cycle of the larvae. The larvae causes a noticeable lump under the skin, which usually has a hole for the parasite to breathe. Later, the parasite will exist the host and develops into the adult fly. A veterinarian is needed to remove the parasite from the skin.
Giardia is a parasite known as a protozoan, that infects the intestinal tract of animals, including cats. It is most commonly found in kittens who have a cramped environment. This parasitic disease can be transmitted to humans. Once infected, a diarreal disease known as Giardiasis occurs. This can lead to a number of complications in both cats and humans and it’s essential proper treatment is sought. Treatment for this parasite requires medications and cleaning the cat’s environment to eliminate any additional parasites, such as cleaning beds and toys. The cat is often isolated as the parasite can be transmitted to humans. Young children have a high risk for contracting this parasite.
“Giardia” Washington State Department of Health
“What is the life cycle of Cuterebra?” Pet Education
“Cheyletiella Mites” Provet