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Is It Safe for Your Cat to Eat Bugs?

by james on 02 Dec 2022
Is it okay for your cat to eat bugs? The indicators of the differences between these two species are all around us, so you don't need to be an expert on cats or dogs to recognize them. While dogs are regarded as "man's best friend" and are domesticated, there are some murky areas in the relationship between people and cats. It seems as though the cats took our offer of food and a comfortable place to sleep into consideration and said, "Ok, we'll take care of the rodents, but as for the rest of that stuff—you're on your own." Photos of cats frequently appear to depict a wild predator lying just beneath the surface, in contrast to images of dogs, which we may perceive as the embodiment of domesticity. The cat has been successfully removed from the jungle (or desert, to be more specific) in our contemporary environment, but we haven't been as successful in doing the same for our cats. Even the sweetest moggy is a little bit wild at heart, whether your cat is continually hiding in a corner waiting to pounce on your feet as you pass by or brings the spoils of an outdoor hunt to your welcome mats and carpets (or to your bed!). Cats are avid hunters. They enjoy pursuing, catching, and stalking. And having a food dish that is always full doesn't seem to lessen this craving in the least. When there is little wild wildlife available to them indoors, many cats will turn to insects as their next best option. Why Do Cats Chase Bugs? Chasing bugs is much more enjoyable than chasing a feather on a stick or a bell-filled ball. Such cat toys don't appeal to your cat's "inner panther" the way a living thing fighting for its life does, therefore it's not surprising that cats just naturally like catching insects. But is a cat's health harmed by this practice? Hunting frequently has nothing to do with hunger, according to Dr. Meghan Herron, a veterinarian and clinical assistant professor of behavioral health at Ohio State University. Because cats are "obligate carnivores," a small number of insects do not offer a significant supply of protein,  A real carnivore, also known as an obligatory carnivore, is an animal that relies exclusively on animal sources of nutrition for survival. Minks, tarsiers, dolphins, seals, sea lions, and walruses are a few more land and marine animals that are obligate carnivores. Numerous snakes and amphibians, as well as salmon, rainbow trout, hawks, eagles, and crocodiles, are examples of non-mammal obligate carnivores. Cats need a lot of protein to thrive, and they largely obtain their sugar needs through gluconeogenesis, a process that turns protein, not carbohydrates, into glucose. Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinarian in Fort Collins, Colorado, claims that cats in the wild obtain their protein by hunting other creatures including "mice, rats, birds, rabbits, and even the occasional snake." "As long as you are giving your cats an acceptable amount of a high-quality, low-carb cat food, they should be getting all the protein they require," says the expert. This bug hunting phenomenon so appears to have a behavioral rather than biological origin. According to Dr. Herron, "I believe that chasing and eating bugs is primarily both enjoyable and intuitive, as bugs are swiftly moving little objects that cats' brains are programmed to chase." "This instinctive impulse to hunt and practice predatory behavior through play is still extremely strong in domestic cats since they are not quite as fully domesticated as their canine relatives." But can your cat become sick from eating bugs?   Internal Parasites in Bugs According to Dr. Katie Grzyb, DVM, "internal parasites are not a [major] problem with consumption of insects." "Eating insects carries virtually little risk," There are several insect species that can transmit parasites that can infect cats, such as Physaloptera, or stomach worms, however these instances are quite rare. The digestive tract of cats may also become irritated by bugs. Diarrhea and/or vomiting are frequently the outcome. Contact your veterinarian if it is severe or doesn't go away on its own in a day or two. But according to Dr. Coates, some insect species that invade or reside on a cat's coat can undoubtedly cause problems. "While ticks aren't technically insects, they can spread a number of diseases to people and animals, including tick-borne disorders like tapeworms and anemia in cats. Dr. Grzyb continues, "bee stings and spider bites undoubtedly can create an allergic reaction, localized or anaphylactic, which often needs to be treated by a veterinarian. In other words, there may be more to worry about when the creature that is biting." Do Pesticides Make Bugs Poison to Cats? We try our best to keep insects out of the house, but when they do get in, many of us use insecticides to get rid of them. Pet owners might be worried about what would happen if their animals ate a poisoned insect because these toxins can be discovered on and inside the bodies of insects while they are still living. It turns out that majority of the time there is no need for concern. According to Dr. Grzyb, the dying bugs contain such a small amount of toxin that it is quite unlikely that a pet owner will notice any adverse consequences. However, when a cat comes into close touch with a pesticide, the situation may be completely different. A little research is always your best chance when pet owners are going to use any type of chemicals around the home, whether they be pesticides or other chemicals. Read the label, in other words. Dr. Grzyb advises owners to carefully study insecticide labels to make sure pyrethroids are not present because they can induce seizures, severe tremors, and high body temperatures in some felines. The use of roach bait, on the other hand, "I have seen several cases of, almost never creates any negative effects in cats; perhaps mild gastrointestinal indications, but that is it." Dr. Grzyb advises owners to call their local veterinarian or a Poison Control Hotline, such as the ASPCA, if they believe their pet has consumed a pesticide. When contacting these sources, it is beneficial for the owners to have as much information about the product as possible, such as the bottle in hand to list the active ingredients. Do Cats Miss Hunting? Do our cats miss the daily quest for game and only happen to find that bugs fill this instinct in a useful way? Or do our cats simply exhibit persistently kittenlike behavior? "Yes, I do think cats use insects as a hunting alternative. Since kittens are typically more lively, they may appear to "hunt" more frequently, but it is really just playtime, according to Dr. Grzyb. "If you observe cats, they frequently won't even digest the insect; they will hunt, swat at them, and sometimes even catch them in their teeth. Therefore, although we may never be certain, domestic cats appear to hunt to pass the time. Despite the fact that your cat's bug-hunting may be terrible news for the insects in your home, it all comes down to cats being cats and continuing to be wild-at-heart while having fun.

About the Wood Tick

by james on 29 Nov 2022
The Wood Tick: what is it?     Wood Tick - Dermacentor variabilis   The Wood tick, often called the American dog tick or just the dog tick, is a particularly concerning type of tick that transmits a number of diseases that are harmful to both people and animals. One of the most prevalent vectors of infections in dogs is the wood tick, particularly Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia (Rabbit Fever), and tick paralysis.   Wood ticks belong to the hard tick family and can be identified by their pronounced heads and hard shields, or scutums.   Identification of the Wood Tick   have a back that is gray with splotches. Deer ticks, which transmit Lyme disease, are frequently mistaken for American dog ticks (wood ticks). The Lyme illness is not spread by the American dog tick.   The body of the American dog tick is also oval in shape and has a flat top. The average female is roughly 5 mm long, compared to the average male, who is 15 mm long and 10 mm wide when engorged (with blood). When not engorged, males are only 3.6 mm long.   Known also as "blacklegged ticks," deer ticks are significantly smaller than wood ticks and can be identified by their, you guessed it, black legs.     Lifecycle of the Wood Tick   A kind of tick known as a wood tick has three hosts and has four unique lifecycle stages: eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults.   A tick must consume blood from a host at every stage of its life after emerging from its egg. A larva, often known as a seed tick, is a newly hatched tick. Tick larvae are only six-legged and only an eighth    Tick larvae can't jump, so they must stand on grass blades or perch on plants until a warm-blooded mammal passes by, at which time they grab on. The tick appears to be trying to stand up and grab the sky when it engages in a behavior known as "questing." The larva will transform into an eight-legged nymph after finishing its initial host's meal and falling to the ground.   Then, nymphs wait for a second warm-blooded host, such as a raccoon, possum, or other large animal, to pass along. The nymph will then continue to feed for a few days until it swells with blood. Once more falling to the ground, it molts into an adult tick.   The third and last host that adult ticks will seek out is a large animal, such as a dog or a deer, where they can feed, reproduce, leave droppings, and lay eggs. The female passes away after producing a few thousand eggs. The complete tick lifespan might last anywhere from three months to eighteen months, depending on the species. The typical wood tick life cycle in northern states is two years.   Habitat and History   American dog ticks can be found wherever there are domestic animals or cattle, including in heavily forested areas, shrubs, thick grasses, and shrubbery. The eastern two-thirds of the United States as well as the West Coast make up its natural range. They enjoy being outside in humid conditions. If a wood tick is discovered inside, it most likely fell off of the host animal after being engorged.   Ticks and arachnids, including spiders and mites, are most closely related. When the weather warms up in the spring, which is also when females deposit their eggs, they resume their dormant wintertime behavior. Adult females go dormant and live in leaf litter until the next spring if they are unable to find a suitable host during the fall. This is why, regardless of the season, it's crucial to check for ticks after being outside in the woods.   The wood tick has a variable peak activity period depending on where in the nation you live. Maintaining a groomed lawn and clearing the area of any leaf litter is crucial. Check out our article on 10 facts about ticks to learn more about ticks, including how to keep them off of you and your pets.   What to Do if Your Pet Has a Wood Tick   Don't panic, first and foremost. The sooner you remove the tick, the better because it typically takes a tick 6 to 8 hours after eating to transmit any diseases it may be carrying.   Always put on gloves and firmly hold the tick by the head with a pair of tweezers. The tick's head could loosen and remain within your dog or cat, where it could spread an infection, if you pull it by the body. Instead, pull until the tick's head releases while using a steady upward motion. After that, place the body in a glass jar and make a call to your vet. Ask your veterinarian about the tick and whether you should bring it in to be examined for disease.   Visit our comprehensive guide on eliminating ticks to learn more.   Once the tick has been removed from your pet, clean the bite area with an alcohol swab or another antiseptic before applying a dab of Neosporin to the skin. For the upcoming several weeks, keep a watch on your dog or cat to look for signs of an infection brought on by a tick.   Here are some recommendations for keeping your pet from ever becoming a tick host:   ● Always stay in the middle of the path when taking your dog for a walk, and keep an eye out for overhead tree branches. Ticks frequently land on their prey from shrubs and trees. ● Keep your pet away from heaps of branches or leaves and leaf litter. Another location where ticks like to wait in wait is this one. ● After returning from an outdoor trip, make sure you and your pet are both tick-free. Be sure to look inside ears, between paw pads, in the inner thighs where they meet the body, in any skin folds, and in females, around the vulva. Because they are warm and humid, ticks  ● Because there is more hair for the tick to latch onto, pets with long hair are more likely to contract ticks. After a trip or stroll, always brush your pet to get rid of any messes. ● Keep your yard's edges tidy and mowed. Keep your yard neatly manicured and free of clutter to help prevent ticks from entering your yard and attaching themselves to your dogs. Ticks prefer to live on the edges 

​Four Unexpected Flea Diseases You Need to Know

by james on 23 Nov 2022
Four Unexpected Flea Diseases You Need to Know Fleas are simple to disregard. Fleas don't seem to be as dangerous as ticks, which are notorious for transmitting Lyme disease to both dogs and humans. The tiny bloodsuckers are typically viewed by us and our pets as a nuisance rather than a major threat to anyone's health. But both humans and animals can contract a startling array of diseases from fleas. Through their bites and when they are consumed by the animals they prey upon (such as during self-grooming), fleas can seriously impair both you and your pet's health. Murine Typhus Although cats that come into contact with infected fleas can bring these disease vectors home, rats are the primary host for the flea species that transmits murine typhus. The Texas Department of State Health Services claims that typhus is typically spread to people through flea bites. The bugs typically urinate at the same time they bite. Rickettsia typhi, a type of bacteria that can be found in feces, can enter the body through a bite wound or by being scratched in the bite location. The symptoms of typhus include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches. You can get a rash that starts on your body's trunk and extends to your arms and legs five or six days after the first symptoms. The Texas Department of State Health Services advises seeking medical attention right away if you suspect you have murine typhus. Antibiotics can be used to treat the condition, but if you wait too long, you might need to be hospitalized. The illness could last for several months if untreated. Murine typhus cases are prevalent in hot, muggy places with big rat populations. According to Chris Van Deusen, press representative for the Texas Department of State Health Services, 324 cases—including one death—were reported to the state's health authorities in 2015. Since 2012, Texas has seen at least one death from murine typhus each year. Since the symptoms are rather widespread, waiting to seek treatment may result in poorer outcomes, according to Van Deusen. More severe cases are "related with other illnesses, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and a history of alcohol addiction." 14 murine typhus instances, all without fatalities, have been reported to the California Department of Public Health so far this year from four counties, according to a department spokeswoman. The state typically sees 50 instances each year, mostly in the Orange and Los Angeles county suburbs. Murine typhus is unusual elsewhere. Dr. Lee Herold, chief medical officer for the DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon, claims that it is "virtually nonexistent" in the Pacific Northwest. Mycoplasma haemofelis Cats can contract the parasitic bacterial disease Mycoplasma haemofelis (M. haemofelis) from tick, mosquito, and flea bites. According to Herold, M. haemofelis, an infection of the red blood cells, can make cats ill with fever and anemia. Additionally, there is some proof that M. haemofelis can infect people, particularly individuals with weakened immune systems. As equal opportunity eaters, fleas can infect both you and your pet, spreading the parasite to both of you. Red blood cells from the infected cat get attached to M. haemofelis, which causes the immune system to identify and mark them for elimination. According to Herold, anemia is typically caused by the enormous amount of red blood cells that are destroyed. Antibiotics are frequently recommended by veterinarians to treat sick animals. In severe situations, cats could need an antibiotic first, then a blood transfusion. According to Herold, some cats require steroid drugs to stop their immune systems from attacking their own red blood cells. Four to six weeks may be needed for recovery. Tapeworms Tapeworms, one of the most dreadful parasites, live in the intestines of humans, dogs, and cats. When animals groom themselves or other animals, they may swallow infected adult fleas, which can cause pets to contract tapeworms. According to Herold, cats can contract the illness by consuming contaminated mice. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children may contract the illness by inadvertently ingesting an infected flea, which they may come across while playing outside, even though it is relatively uncommon in adults (CDC). Proglottids, or segments of tapeworms, are excreted by both children and animals. Cat Scratch Disease This illness is intriguing. The bacteria that causes cat scratch fever, Bartonella henselae (B. henselae), is rather typical in felines. The CDC estimates that roughly 40% of cats, particularly kittens, may contract the illness at some point in their life. Serious symptoms can appear in certain cats. If your cat is vomiting, appears lethargic, has red eyes, enlarged lymph nodes, or has a decreased appetite, the CDC advises getting it to the doctor. The majority of cats never become sick, and those who do usually have a fever for two to three days before fully recovering. Thus, even if your cat appears to be in excellent health, it may nonetheless make you unwell. Cat scratch fever can strike people even when the cat shows no symptoms, according to Herold. According to the CDC, cats can spread the disease to people by biting or scratching them so hard that they break the skin, or by licking them while they are close to or on wounds or scabs. Last year, Janese Walters of Toledo, Ohio, awoke one morning to discover she was blind in one eye, a remarkable circumstance that was covered by numerous media sites. After a month of testing, physicians were unable to identify the origin of the blindness—until the woman revealed her cat to them. When they were able to link the infection to the B. henselae bacterium, they came to the diagnosis of cat scratch disease and the fact that her cat had licked her eye had caused her to lose vision in one eye. The condition can, in extremely rare instances, harm the brain, eyes, heart, or other internal organs; however, the CDC notes that these problems are more likely to strike young children and those with low immune systems.     How to Keep Fleas Away from Your Home The right flea control method can protect you, your pet, and the rest of your family while also improving your pet's quality of life. Choosing the best therapy relies on your dogs and your lifestyle, even though there are many trustworthy and safe solutions on the market, according to Herold. Herold, who uses a spot-on flea solution on her dog, notes that many pet parents choose to use topical products to keep fleas off their animals. But some pet owners might find it difficult to use solutions that need to be applied on a monthly basis. Another alternative for both pets and their owners is oral medicine. There isn't a one approach that works for everyone, according to Herold. "Depending on your household, your veterinarian may give a recommendation." Families with both cats and dogs must take extra precautions to prevent medication mixing. According to Herold, products made for dogs that include permethrin can be toxic to cats. Cleaning Your Environment to Make it a Flea-Free Zone Herold notes that getting rid of fleas on your pet is just the beginning. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) points out that treating your pet alone won't solve the flea problem because they spend the majority of their lives on your pet. When fleas that are breeding in your home mature and attach to your pet, the infestation may return. The AVMA advises meticulously cleaning your pet's sleeping area as well as vacuuming the furniture and floors your pet frequently uses. According to the AVMA, cleaning and vacuuming these places will assist get rid of and kill fleas at all phases of development. According to Herold, "if you can repeatedly remove eggs from carpeting, you next have to remove the vacuum bag... that must leave your home." It can take a while to completely eradicate fleas from your home, so effort and patience are essential for success. Most strategies require time, according to Herold. "Fleas won't disappear in a single day. Even if you bombed your home, there would still be fleas in it.