Illustrated Articles

Cats + Infectious Diseases

  • Ringworm infections in cats are caused by a fungus, not a worm. They can be easily recognized, though definitive testing by fungal culture is recommended. Ringworm is highly contagious and can be spread between animals and from animals to people. The clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment, and risks are explained in this handout.

  • Roundworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites observed in cats. Almost all cats will become infected with roundworms at some point in their life, most often as kittens. Roundworms are not particularly harmful to adult cats, but large numbers may cause life-threatening problems in kittens and debilitated older cats. Roundworms can also be transmitted to humans. Diagnostic testing, treatment, and preventive measures are explained in this handout.

  • Selamectin + sarolaner is used topically on the skin to treat various parasites, both on and off-label, and prevent heartworm in cats. Side effects are rare but may include hair loss at the application site, gastrointestinal upset, skin reactions, or neurologic signs. It should be used with caution in sick or underweight cats. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • H1N1 influenza virus emerged in pigs as a genetic sharing of DNA from both human and swine influenza viruses. It caused a deadly pandemic in 2009 and continues to be an important cause of illness today. Pets including cats and dogs can be infected from their owners and become ill. It is not yet thought to transfer from pets to humans. Because influenza viruses appear to be capable of swapping genes, there is potential for new variants of influenza viruses to be generated at any time leading to another pandemic of severe disease in humans and other animals. Good hygiene and exposure restriction should be taken immediately if there is any sign of influenza-like infection to restrict spread between humans and between humans and their pets or domestic animals.

  • Tapeworms are parasites that infect the gastrointestinal tract of cats, other animals, and humans. Several types of tapeworms are known to infect pets, but the most common species observed in cats is Dipylidium caninum, which is transmitted through fleas. Risk factors, clinical signs, treatment, and prevention are explained in this handout. Other, less common types of tapeworms that affect cats and humans are also covered.

  • Heartworm disease is a parasitic disease that typically affects dogs but can occasionally occur in cats. Heartworm is usually diagnosed with a simple blood test. There are two main tests for detecting heartworm infection; one test detects adult worms and the other detects microfilaria. Unlike in dogs, treatment options are limited. Heartworm preventives are available for cats. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best prevention program for your cat.

  • Tetanus is a medical condition caused by a toxin. This toxin, produced by the bacteria Clostridium tetani, affects the nerves, spinal cord, and brain, leading to hyperexcitability resulting in muscle spasms. Cats are less susceptible to the effects of tetanus toxin than humans and horses. Tetanus is typically diagnosed based on exam findings. Cats with tetanus require intensive nursing care. Most cats develop localized, self-limiting disease, which will respond to appropriate early treatment.

  • **This article has been specifically written for pet sitters and how they can reduce their exposure to COVID-19.** COVID-19 is a new respiratory disease in humans, initially discovered late in 2019. Although all coronaviruses are related, they are not all the same virus. As a pet sitter, it is important to limit direct contact with your clients. People can shed the virus without showing any symptoms of disease, so it is important to practice physical distancing even with clients who appear healthy. It is also important to limit your contact with potentially contaminated items in your clients’ homes, whether they are at home or not. The most important things you can do to minimize your risk of infection, and minimize the risk of transferring infection to your clients, is to be cautious when interacting with clients and when touching anything that could be contaminated, wear a mask, and maintain at least 6 feet distance from your clients. Communicate with your clients regularly during this pandemic. Having information about your clients’ health can help you avoid taking unnecessary risks. Finally, if you develop any signs of COVID-19, including cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath, it is important that you stay home from work.

  • Toxoplasma occurs worldwide. However, infection is uncommon in pet cats that do little or no hunting and primarily or exclusively eat commercial cat foods. Despite the high number of cats infected with T. gondii, very few show significant clinical signs. Humans are most commonly infected by eating contaminated food. Most people infected with this organism do not develop clinical disease. However, infection during pregnancy may be transmitted to the fetus and sometimes cause severe damage. Many pet cats will never be exposed to Toxoplasma and, therefore, cannot pass the infection on to humans.

  • Trifluridine is an antiviral topical medication used to treat viral infections of the eye, such as herpesvirus-1 in cats. Give as directed. Side effects include eye irritation. Do not use in pets with an allergy to this medication. If a negative reaction occurs, please call the veterinary office.

Hospital News

Welcome!

Summerfields Animal Hospital is a full-service, AAHA accredited animal hospital for small pets including dogs, cats, avian and exotics.

We understand and value the mutual affection, trust and loyalty that bind owners with their pets and believe the best approach to preserve that relationship is through practicing excellent medicine.

When sick, you want only the best care for your faithful pet companion. We work hard to provide exceptional care for your pet and outstanding customer service in a state-of-the-art environment.

Our website was designed to educate you about your pet, our hospital, our experienced veterinarians and the excellent services in veterinary medicine we provide.

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Tuesday7:30am – 7:00pm
Wednesday7:30am – 7:00pm
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Sunday2:00pm – 7:00pm

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We accept any emergency patient during regular business hours.

If possible, please call our office to let us know the details of your emergency so that we may be prepared for your arrival.

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