Cats and Lizards
One of the first things people notice when they move to South Florida is the abundance of wild lizards. Their darting, scurrying movements are entrancing to watch - and even more so for our cats! While our feline friends may delight in stalking and hunting lizards, these common backyard denizens can pose serious risks for our cats. Lizards in South Florida often carry liver flukes, a parasitic worm that, when ingested by a cat, can cause damage to the liver and pancreas.
Cats with liver flukes do not always develop clinical signs right away. This is one of the reasons routine, wellness bloodwork is so important for cats in South Florida. As the parasite takes hold, infected cats can become jaundiced, lethargic, inappetant, or anorexic. They may suffer from vomiting or diarrhea. Liver flukes can be treated with a series of anti-parasitic injections, and most patients make a full recovery. While lizards do occasionally find their way indoors, outdoor, predatory cats are most at risk. Reduced exposure to this nasty parasite is yet another reason why our cats deserve to live indoors.