It is important to protect cats from ticks, just as much as dogs. Here are some ways to control, prevent and treat ticks in cats.
Control and Prevention
Because substantial annual, seasonal, and geographic differences occur in tick prevalence, and because brown dog ticks can infest homes and kennels every month of the year, CAPC supports the year-round use of tick-control products on pets. Reactive or attempted seasonal use of tick-control products, allows home infestations to establish and permits transmission of disease agents because products are often not applied until tick activity has commenced.
Occasionally, ticks may be found on pets, even when acaricides are routinely administered. This apparent failure in tick control is usually due to heavy burdens of ticks in the environment, which result in high re-infestation rates.
When ticks are acquired from outdoors (Amblyomma spp., Dermacentor spp., Ixodes spp.), the habitat around the home can be modified to render it less supportive of ticks and wildlife hosts that can amplify tick populations. Such measures include closely cutting grass, removing brush piles and leaf litter, limiting ground cover around the home, and selecting plants that do not attract deer.
Keeping cats indoors, as recommended in the general CAPC guidelines, limits the risk of tick infestation in pets. At certain times of the year, particularly in the spring and summer, when tick populations are blooming, it may be necessary to keep pets out of habitats harbouring heavy numbers of questing ticks.
To remove ticks manually, use fine forceps to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and then directly extract using slow, steady, rearward pressure. Gloves should be worn to prevent zoonotic infection, in the event a tick is inadvertently crushed during removal.
Care should be taken to avoid crushing, twisting or jerking the tick out of the skin. This may result in increased host exposure to pathogens within the tick, or cause the mouthparts to break off in the skin, which may lead to granuloma formation.
Regular use of acaricides is often necessary to protect cats from ticks and the pathogens they transmit. Care must be taken to use acaricides only in the species for which they are approved. Dog products should not be given to cats, and cat products should not be given to dogs.
Only Biospot® (etofenprox), Frontline®, EasySpot, and EFFIPRO Topical Solution for Cats (fipronil), Bravecto® (fluralaner), and Seresto® (flumethrin) are approved for use on cats.
Written by Dr. Chris MacDonald, DVM