Waterford cat lovers urged to seek vet advice on the ‘purr-fect’ parasite treatment

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Research commissioned by Irish animal health specialists MSD Animal Health has revealed that many cat owners across Ireland are unaware of the main parasite risks for their pets and are not treating or preventing infestation appropriately.

Ahead of ‘Take your Cat to the Vet Day’ on Wednesday (August 22), MSD Animal Health is sharing the findings of its all-Ireland research in the hope that cat owners will visit their local veterinary practice and guarantee ‘purr-fect’ protection against fleas, ticks and worms.

Findings in the study, which surveyed 450 cat owners in Ireland north and south, revealed that 50.4% of cat owners are jeopardising the health of their pets and family members by only starting parasite treatment after seeing their pet scratching, by which time the flea infestation on the pet and in the home is already well established.

Although fleas prefer to feed on cats, they will also bite humans, potentially resulting in unpleasant skin reactions. Homes can easily become infested with flea eggs and larvae, and it can be difficult, time consuming and costly to manage an infestation. Therefore, routine prevention is often recommended.

The survey also found that only half of cat lovers are aware of the risk of roundworm in cats, with 63% not having wormed their feline in the last three months. This suggests many cats are at risk of being infected by these pesky squatters who will make no hesitation in creating a home for themselves in human members of the household too.

These findings gave particular concern to MSD Animal Health given that nearly six in ten cats spend most of their time living indoors.

MSD veterinary advisor, Ms. Oonagh Fitzgibbon, said: “It’s clear from the study that not enough cat owners are aware of the dangers of parasites, not only to their feline friends, but to the wider family.

"We are keen to communicate the importance of taking a preventative approach to parasite treatment to reduce the risks and costs associated with unwanted guests, keeping cats healthy and happy and transmission levels low.

“We encourage all cat owners to seek expert guidance from their local veterinary practice on the best ways to protect their pet, so everyone can enjoy good health without the fear of these common pests.”

MSD Animal Health provides services and technologies to prevent, treat and control diseases across all pet species and farm animals.