Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Protecting Your Pet: Cats And Deadly Lizards
Little lizards are everywhere in South Florida. They may seem harmless - but as Health Specialist Marilyn Mitzel shows us - they carry a deadly parasite that can kill animals.
(WSVN) -- Cats are adventurous by nature. Some love chasing lizards.
But it can turn into a fatal game of cat and mouse.
Dr. Steven Paul, Wiles Road Animal Hospital: "Curiosity can really kill a cat in this particular instance."
These little lizards carry parasites - that are deadly but only to cats who eat them.
Dr. Paul: "They actually go down inside the bile duct causing inflammation, completely occluding or blocking the bile duct. Once that happens toxins back up in the liver."
Jeanine Peters learned it the hard way.
Cat owner Jeanine Peters: "I never thought they would carry something so deadly. I used to let her eat them."
Choppsie nearly lost her life - because vets couldn't figure out why she was so sick.
Jeanine: "Her blue eyes turned green and if you pulled away her fur you'd see her skin was yellow"
Other symptoms include lethargy - appetite loss - abdominal tenderness or swelling.
Exploratory surgery discovered the parasite.
A simple stool test can do the same.
Today jeanine is vigilant with her five cats.
Jeanine Peters: "I'm very protective with them. When they do go on the patio I watch them."
Prevention is the best way to protect your pet.
If your cat loves chasing lizards - discourage it.
Dr. Paul: "Anything for you to do to prevent your cat from having access to lizards can save your cat's life."
Other tips -- keep animals indoors and lizards out with a bottom door guard.
If they go out - feed them first so they're full. If they still can't resist the chase - test them for the parasite annually.
When detected early it's easily treated with medication.
Jeanine is doing the best she can to ensure her felines have pur-fectly healthy lives.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Steven Paul
Wiles Road Animal Hospital