Lice are tiny, six-legged parasites that feed on blood and can cause anemia.
Weak, run-down kittens are most susceptible. Tiny white spots, called nits are visible. These are the egg casings. Lice spend their entire life on the animal and are not transferable to other pets or people. They do not infest your home and are a problem primarily in the cooler winter months. In the United States, lice on kittens and puppies is rare although head lice on school children are quite common. Lice can cause blood loss which in young kittens can result in anemia.
* White nits in hair
* Anemia (pale-whitish gum color in a weak kitten)
WHAT YOU AND YOUR VET CAN DO
* Once lice have been confirmed, the treatment is relatively straightforward and is similar to that for fleas. Most products that kill fleas also kill lice.
Bathe your cat with d-limolene or a pyrethrin-based shampoo. This kills adult lice but not eggs, so repeat the baths weekly until all the eggs are gone. Leave the suds on for 5-10 minutes. Pyrethrin dips are effective for lice.
* Chrysanthemums contain pyrethrins which are effective for lice and fleas. These are available commercially as dips which are sponged on after bathing and allowed to air dry.
Improve the general health of your kitten. Enhance the diet and add 1/8 Tsp of nutritional yeast to meals which is a source of B vitamins which may help combat anemia by promoting red blood cell production.
* Itching from mites and lice can be controlled with Vitamin C supplementation – 250 milligrams of powder 3 times daily added to meals.
* Vitamin E – 400 Iu (international units) per week added to meals.
* Citrus fruits like lemons contain d-limolene which act as a repellant for lice and fleas and mites.