Choosing the right parasite treatment for your cat can feel like a minefield. With so many products available, both from pet shops and from your vets, it can be hard to know what to choose. However, most owners agree that they look for an effective product that is easy to administer to their feline friend, with less frequent applications being better!

Prescription veterinary products in particular are becoming more advanced with many treating multiple parasites. Some products have moved away from needing to be administered monthly and may only need to be given once every 3 months. Many owners find this attractive and preferable to more regular treatments, particularly if their cat resents having them applied.

However, the latest product to reach the market claims to be revolutionary

It is a spot-on containing a combination for three different medications, and is the first anti-parasite product that treats all the common feline parasites in the UK. It also only needs to be applied once every 3 months (4 times a year). This product protects against –

  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Mites
  • Lungworms
  • Roundworms
  • Hookworms
  • Tapeworms

Until now, most parasite treatments have not been combined with a tapeworm treatment. This means that a separate medication still has to be administered to deal with this.

So, on the surface, this product seems to be the product we have all been waiting for!

It is a single anti-parasite product that comes in a topical formulation (a spot-on rather than a tablet), that only needs applying 4 times a year. However, what else should we consider when choosing the right treatment for our pets?

One recent topic that has hit the headlines is responsible anti-parasiticide use. Research has shown that chemicals from flea and tick treatments are ending up in our waterways; which can have negative effects on ecosystems.

This has meant that vets are moving away from a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to parasite treatment

Instead, we try to tailor their treatments to the individual animal. For example, a cat that doesn’t hunt and is predominantly indoors, but occasionally goes to a cattery, is at low risk for ticks and worms but may benefit from preventative flea treatment. This is different to a young, active outdoor cat who regularly hunts and is much more at risk from other parasites. You can see in these scenarios how some of the properties of an all-in-one parasite treatment are unnecessary for some of our patients. While this won’t harm the individual cat, it may potentially put unnecessary pressure on our environment.

Cost is another consideration

If your cat is difficult to medicate and requires a regular comprehensive anti-parasite product, then paying a premium for an all-in-one treatment may be well worth it. However, if your cat is amenable to more frequent treatments, or perhaps a separate tablet and spot-on product for example, you may find that these options cost a bit less. Your vet will be able to talk through the price of various products with you though; as well as what products you are eligible to receive if you are on a health care plan at your practice.

A further consideration is that vets are trying to be as ‘cat-friendly’ as possible

This means recognising that cats have different needs than our canine patients. They are prone to stress and rough handling or force-feeding them with medications should be avoided wherever possible. An all-in-one anti-parasite treatment that only needs every 3 months would certainly tick the box as being cat friendly; particularly for cats that resent being handled or having treatments administered. It will lead to greater patient compliance. This means these pets will be more likely to be successfully protected against parasite infections.

So, on balance, if these all-in-one products are used responsibly in appropriate cases, then I believe that they could be a very good thing. As with any prescription products however, you will need to discuss them with your vet, who will be able to advise you on the best treatment for your cat. It may be that an alternative medication is more suitable for your cat’s lifestyle, or your budget, but your vet will be able to talk you through the various options.

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