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, 228, 17-22

Ectoparasites of Free-Roaming Domestic Cats in the Central United States

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Ectoparasites of Free-Roaming Domestic Cats in the Central United States

Jennifer E Thomas et al. Vet Parasitol.

Abstract

Free-roaming domestic cat (Felis catus) populations serve as a valuable resource for studying ectoparasite prevalence. While they share a similar environment as owned cats, free-roaming cats do not receive routine veterinary care or ectoparasiticide application, giving insight into parasite risks for owned animals. We examined up to 673 infested cats presented to a trap-neuter-return (TNR) clinic in the central United States. Ectoparasite prevalences on cats were as follows: fleas (71.6%), ticks (18.7%), Felicola subrostratus (1.0%), Cheyletiella blakei (0.9%), and Otodectes cynotis (19.3%). Fleas, ticks, and O. cynotis were found in all months sampled. A total of 1117 fleas were recovered from 322 infested cats. The predominate flea recovered from cats was Ctenocephalides felis (97.2%) followed by Pulex spp. (2.8%), Cediopsylla simplex (0.6%), and Nosopsyllus fasciatus (0.6%). A total of 373 ticks were recovered from 126 infested cats. The predominate tick species was Amblyomma americanum (65.9%) followed by Ixodes scapularis (32.5%), Dermacentor variabilis (10.3%), and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (0.8%). Immature tick stages accounted for 54.7% of all ticks found, highlighting an under-appreciated source of tick burden on domestic cats. The results of this study emphasize the importance of year-round use of ectoparasiticides with both insecticidal and acaricidal activity on domestic cats.

Keywords: Cat; Ear mite; Ectoparasite; Feline; Felis catus; Feral cat; Flea; Louse; Mite; Stray cat; Tick.

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