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How Often To Treat Cat For Tapeworms

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Symptoms Of Cat Worms

Cat Health & Care : How to Treat Cat Tapeworm

It is important for cat owners to be on the lookout for symptoms of worms, because by the time your feline friend displays signs of infestation, he or she is usually already well along in the process. Some of the most common symptoms of worms in cats are:

  • Weight loss accompanied by a marked increase or decrease in appetite
  • Distended abdomen, or pot-bellied appearance
  • Lethargy
  • Dulling of coat and/or hair loss accompanied by skin irritation/inflammation
  • Rubbing or dragging the hindquarters across the ground
  • Visible presence of segments of tapeworms in cats attached to the skin and fur around the anus/hind quarters area
  • Visible presence of roundworms in cats in infected stool, like tiny grains of rice

These symptoms of worms in cats can also indicate other illnesses, so we recommend contacting your veterinarian immediately if you suspect or witness any of these symptoms of worms in cats in your feline friend.

Diagnosis Of Tapeworms In Cats

Often, tapeworms are found by the owner of the cat while cleaning out the litter box. Once a cat has been brought in to a veterinary clinic, the vet will complete a physical examination including a close look at the cats anus, as proglottids are sometimes seen near the opening. If a cat is diagnosed with fleas, it is wise to assume that Dipylidium caninum tapeworms are also present.

Various fecal examinations will be needed to confirm the type of worms that have infested the cat. Examination of the eggs alone is often not accurate, as many worm eggs resemble each other. Approximately one teaspoon of fresh fecal material may need to be collected from your cat to perform a fecal flotation test. The excrement is then mixed with a substance that is heavier than the worms. After 20 minutes, all worm eggs will float to the surface of the mixture and can then be collected for microscopic analysis and identification.

How Can You Tell If A Cat Has Tapeworms

There are several indicators a cat has tapeworms:

  • Licking the anus
  • Biting or scratching at the anus
  • Dragging hind legs across the floor in an attempt to scratch the area
  • Rice-like segments of tapeworms in cats feces
  • Weight loss, even with increased appetite
  • Dull or shabby coat

If you notice one or more of the above symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.

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How Do Felines Get Tapeworms In The First Place

As if tapeworms are gross-sounding enough, consider the most common way that cats get them in the first place:

From fleas.

You may not think that you have fleas in your home, but it’s actually relatively easy to come in contact with these little buggers on a day-to-day basis. Boarding kennels , grooming shops, pet stores, or even veterinary hospitals are often hotspots for fleas that may pass from one animal host to another.

Even the great outdoors can expose your cat to fleas. This is especially true if your cat goes outdoors and you live in a woody area.

Tapeworms, like a few other common parasites, require at least 2 animal hosts in order to survive. The first hostusually the common fleawill contain tapeworm larvae. Once the infected flea becomes ingested by the second hoste.g., your catthat the larvae will find their way to the animal’s small intestine, latch on, and begin to grow.

For cats specifically, they typically become infected by tapeworms after accidentally eating a flea while grooming, or after eating a tapeworm-infected rodent.

Can I Get Worms From My Cat

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Please always keep in mind that people can get tapeworms and Giardia , so always wash your hands after handling your pets or their stool if you suspect that they are infected. Roundworm eggs that are accidentally consumed can migrate to various organs and cause damage . Hookworm larvae can penetrate the skin and cause cutaneous larval migrans. Please remember to be conscious of anyone in the home who has a decreased immune system, including the very young and the elderly. We all know that kids do things like pet the cat and then stick their hands in their mouths!

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Tapeworms In Cats: Symptoms Treatment And Prevention

What is a tapeworm? These are parasites in mammals, especially cats. Yes, this cat worms are the only parasites that you can see with the naked eye. As per veterinarian recommendation, it has become easy to get rid of these tapeworms with deworming medications. Tapeworms are common among wild cats, and these parasites enter the pets body through infected fleas that grow into full-sized adult worms. Are tapeworms contagious in cats? Are you worried about the process of getting rid of them? Read more about the symptoms of a cat that has tapeworms and their related treatment and how to get rid of tapeworms in cats.

Tapeworm Medication For Cats

Praziquantel is the name of the medicine used to treat tapeworms in cats. It is available from your veterinarian as a prescription injection, topical, or pill.

Make sure to follow all veterinarian instructions, read the directions, and give the appropriate dose for your cats weight. Your veterinarian may recommend treating all pets in the house.

Treatment for tapeworms may need to be repeated 2-4 weeks after the initial treatment to ensure that a cats home environment is completely clear of fleasthe source of tapeworms in cats.

Kittens, pregnant or nursing cats, those with diseases, or cats who are sick should be seen and treated by a veterinarian as their infection may be more severe or a different medicine may be required.

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Tapeworms In Cats: Causes Symptoms & Treatment

Our cats live closely with our families every day. Keeping them healthy and parasite free is extremely important. Intestinal parasites can occur in any age cat, and several types of intestinal worms infect our housecats.

Parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms cause weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Common tapeworms are a pesky example, and require specific treatment and prevention.

Tapeworms come in several varieties, with different species prevalent in certain environments. All tapeworms go through a life cycle that requires a host in order to mature and infect other animals. The tapeworms move from the egg form, or proglottid, through the larvae form, into an infectious form in the host. Eliminating the host can prevent reinfection for our pets.

Treatment And Risk Reduction

How often should I worm my cat?

It is important to understand that you cannot actually prevent worms and that they are so prevalent that the vast majority of our cats will be infected. However, with regular and effective worm control as an integral part of your Cat Care regime you are able to get rid of those worms which are present at the time of treatment hence removing the threat of the illnesses and suffering to which we have referred earlier.

There is a multitude of different worming products available on the market from pet shops, supermarkets, and on the internet and it can therefore be very difficult, and often confusing, to be certain that you are using the right ones. Some treatments are effective against roundworm and tapeworm, whilst others are only effective against one or the other.

Not only is the range of products huge, but so also are the ways of administering them. Some excellent ones are still in tablet form. Other effective ones come in spot-on form, or as pastes, powders, syrups, or with injections by your vet. As regular worm treatment is so very important to your cats wellbeing it is therefore a good idea to have a word with your vet before deciding upon the right ones to use for your particular cat.

In my experience cats do not like being wormed, and some are extremely difficult to treat with tablets even the palatable ones. For this reason, I personally believe that the spot-on treatments are by far the easiest to administer.

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Treating Mites On Cats

Treatment for your cats mites is often the same stuff youd use to treat fleas.

While theres not a lot of information about treating demodex in cats, you do have options.

Demodex has limited research on treatment therapies, and most efficacy data is derived from case reports, clinician experience and canine data, Dr. Burch said. Treatment for demodex can include lime sulfur dips, ivermectin, fluralaner and milbemycin. I will prescribe a fluralaner in the form of Bravecto Plus.

Scabies and cheyletiellosis can both be cleared up with Revolution Plus. In addition to Revolution Plus, scabies treatment also involves heavily cleaning your environment.

All combs, brushes, collars, litter boxes or crates will need to be disinfected, Dr. Burch said.

The Most Common Sign Is The Tapeworm Segment

These are small, white to cream-colored segments and look like grains of rice around the rectum or fur on the rear end. Your cat may scoot or have irritation around the anus.

The tapeworm segment is not the entire worm, though they may move around slightly. These are pieces of the tapeworm body and contain tapeworm egg packets. When these segments fall off the fur, they are then ready to infect again, waiting for flea larvae or rodent to come along and ingest the eggs to continue the cycle!

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How Do I Know Whether My Cat Has Worms

Infected cats do not tend to have any visible symptoms. Sometimes you may spot some white worms in the faeces or vomit, these are segments of a tapeworm that are filled with eggs. These segments look like white rice grains. A severe infection may cause all kinds of symptoms: this includes excessive vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss and a sensitive anus. A kitten may suffer growth retardation or a swollen abdomen. When in doubt, always consult your vet.

Treatment For Roundworms In Cats

Hidden Tapeworms

Luckily, when identified early, treating a roundworm infection is pretty straightforward to help bring your healthy cat back to their normal self.

In the case of kittens, kittens should be dewormed at 2-3 weeks of age and at every visit for booster vaccinations. If you notice that your kitten has roundworm, you will likely use an anthelmintic, or deworming medication to kill the immature form of the worms and the migrating worm eggs. At least 203 treatments are needed to fully eradicate the roundworm.

In addition to treating kittens proactively and quickly if you notice an infection, breeding female cats should also be dewormed prior to pregnancy and again later in their pregnancy.

Adult cats also remain at risk for roundworm infections and the best treatment is prevention. We talk about some prevention tips later in this article, but one of the best and easiest things you can do is to give your cat a parasite medication, such as a flea or heartworm medication, that also treats roundworm. If your cat goes outside, you should have their stools examined several times a year.

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Types Of Worms In Cats

Other than tapeworms, there are other worms by which your cat can get infected.

Intestinal Roundworms

These worms in cat can cause severe issues like pneumonia or vomiting. Enlarged worms inside the cats body can lead to a distended abdomen. These are the most common type of worms among cats throughout the world.


The Hookworms are a small type of intestinal Roundworm that damages the intestine lining and results in weight loss, bleeding and anaemia. Cats can be infected with these worms by consuming eggs from the environment or eating an infected intermediate host. The larvae can also burrow themselves through the cats skin.


One of the deadly parasites that infest the heart, blood vessels and lungs. An infected mosquito bite transmits these parasites into the cats body. There is no cure for these worms, so prevention must be taken from an early stage.

Flea Infestation Is A Sign Of Tapeworms

As I said, there are two different types of tapeworms that are commonly found in cats. Both of these tapeworms have intermediate hosts. One of them is Dipylidium caninum and spreads through fleas in cats.

The hungry flea larvae feed on flea dirt when they come into this world. They innocently eat up proglottids present with the flea dirt and act as intermediate hosts. Tapeworm eggs dont hatch until the flea larvae grow into adult fleas.

Cats groom themselves so much and when they accidentally swallow a flea with tapeworm eggs, worms find their way to a cats intestines to thrive. That said, flea infestation should be addressed as soon as possible and you should use the best flea prevention and treatment for cats.

Medication can kill the worms present inside a cats GI tract but if fleas are still present in the surrounding, the cat will still be susceptible to get tapeworms.

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How To Treat Tapeworms In Cats

Treatment for adult tapeworms is given on an outpatient basis in the form of an injection or oral medication. Deworming medications are effective at removing tapeworms and very safe for your cat.

After treatment, the tapeworms will normally dissolve in the cats intestines. You dont usually see an expulsion of the tapeworms into the feces unless it is an unusually high worm load.

You need to administer the full course of the prescribed medication to ensure that the tapeworms are removed from your cat’s body.

Are Certain Cats More Likely To Get Tapeworms

Ew! These Kittens Have Tapeworms in their Poop! (Learn how to identify and treat tapeworms!)

Fleas are the intermediate host for tapeworm. In other words, the tapeworm is unable to complete its life cycle without the presence of fleas in the environment. Regardless of whether the owner has seen fleas on the cat, or in the home, the cat must have ingested a flea in order to have tapeworms.

“Fleas are the intermediate host for the tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum.”

Consequently, tapeworms are more common in environments that are heavily infested with fleas. It is recommended to treat your cat for fleas if tapeworms are noted, and use flea control to prevent future flea infestations and tapeworm infections.

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What Are Parasites

Parasites are organisms that can live on the inside or the outside of your cat, as well as dogs, people, and essentially most animals on the planet. The three main categories of parasites are protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites.

  • Protozoa are microscopic organisms that consist of only one cell.
  • Helminths are worms that can be flat, round, or thorny-headed.
  • Ecto means outside, as in outside the body, so examples of ectoparasites are fleas, mites, lice, and ticks.
  • Another group of parasites called trematodes or flukes can also infect cats.

How Does It Work

When the worms breed and stay in your cats body, they cause vomiting and diarrhea, other do not show any symptoms. Drontal kills intestinal worms easily and effectively, helping your feline friend stay healthy and happy.

It is recommended to treat your cat with Drontal every 3 months to help fight these intestinal worms.

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What Never To Use

When searching for natural remedies, youre likely to come across all sorts of recipes that promise to clear up ringworm in no time. However, do your research before using any of them, as many of the most popular cures are actually toxic to cats.

Examples of things that you should never give to or use on your cat include:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Oil of oregano
  • Topical bleach

All of the above ingredients are extremely toxic, and many of them can kill your cat. However, there are a few other popular remedies that are safe but unlikely to prove effective, as they lack antifungal properties. These include:

  • Colloidal silver

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Identification Of Tapeworms In Cats

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Tapeworms, as the name suggests, are flat and long worms thriving inside the guts of a cat. They can be as long as 60 cm and are divided into different segments. A tapeworm attaches itself with the wall of the intestine and the segment is known as head. The segment attached with the head is known as the neck of the tapeworm and as the tapeworm grows, new segments are produced from the neck and push the older ones towards the edge of the worm.

Each segment produced from the neck acts as an independent body and has its own digestive as well as the reproductive system. When a particular segment reaches towards an end of the tapeworm, it only has the reproductive system left in it, basically, its a sack of tapeworm eggs. This segment eventually separates itself from the main body and leaves the body of the cat through the anus.

These segments are called proglottids. It looks like a rice grain and may move. However, you wont be able to see a long tapeworm unless your cat is on a deworming medication. This is because of the fact that a tapeworm wont get out of the intestines unless they are killed with the medication.

A proglottid typically contains thousands of eggs. Look for small rice-grain like structure in your cats fur and where she sleeps or spends most of her time. If you find a proglottid in your cats surroundings, that means your cat has tapeworms in her intestines.

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Prognosis For Cats With Tapeworms

When treated early and correctly, the prognosis for cats with tapeworms is good. With proper care, you can permanently eradicate tapeworms. Extra precautions are necessary if your cat is recovering from fleas and tapeworm at the same time. You will need to thoroughly wash all of your cat’s toys and bedding and change your cat’s litter daily.

How Tapeworms Are Diagnosed And Treated

Nichols says that tapeworms in cats are most often diagnosed by either the owner or the veterinarian seeing the tapeworm segments . You dont need a microscope to spot them. Unlike with roundworms, yearly fecal float tests that use a microscope to look for parasite eggs in the poop arent as useful for detecting tapeworms.

Treatment of tapeworms in cats involves a single dose of a deworming drug by mouth, explains Nichols. However, cats can become reinfected by eating infected rodents or fleas, so they may have to undergo the same treatment again in the future. Because fleas are a common route of infection, its important to treat the fleas as well as the tapeworms, she adds. I always recommend flea preventatives for my patients that have tapeworm, and I always consider a tapeworm treatment or screening for my patients that have fleas.

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