Ticks can pose a health threat to a cat of any age, but kittens are particularly at risk to these nasty pests. If your kitten has ticks, it's imperative that you follow these steps to make sure that they don't become ill, or worse.
Remove the Tick
Ticks can pose a serious hazard to kittens because kittens are particularly susceptible to anemia and the diseases that ticks can carry. Because of this, if you find ticks on a kitten, you should always remove them as soon as possible to prevent anemia.
Forget the tricks you may have heard about getting a tick to leave the skin it's embedded in, or the common idea of using alcohol to get a tick out. These methods aren't safe to use on cats, so the only way to remove them is to firmly grasp the tick's body with a tweezer or forcep and slowly and steadily pull it out of your kitten.
Monitor the Kitten
Following the tick removal, you'll need to set up an appointment with a veterinarian to have your kitten checked out. However, you should monitor your kitten to determine if you need an emergency same-day appointment or if you can afford to wait a day or two.
If your kitten shows any signs of being under the weather, like exhibiting lethargy, a lack of appetite, pale gums, or cold symptoms, you should go to the vet immediately. These symptoms may indicate that your kitten is already anemic or has been infected with a disease by the tick.
Go to the Vet
Whether you're going immediately or in a day or two, don't skip going to a vet hospital like Metzger Animal Hospital. Your vet will examine your kitten and run a blood test to determine if they have an infection. For example, one disease carried by ticks is mycoplasma, which is an infectious form of anemia that breaks down red blood cells.
If your kitten is indeed anemic or ill, your veterinarian will prescribe medication to kill any disease and stimulate their bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. In severe situations, a blood transfusion may be given to boost your kitten's blood levels.
Medicate the Kitten
Your vet will probably also prescribe a medication to kill any remaining ticks and eggs, and to prevent further infestations. It would be ideal to keep your kitten indoors to prevent any further tick infestations. However, topical medications can be given to prevent ticks from latching on to your kitten, so if you intend to allow them outdoors, make sure they're medicated first.
Ticks are disgusting pests that can cause serious harm to young kittens. If you ever find a tick on your kitten or cat, remove it immediately, and follow the rest of these tips to make sure they're healthy.