What To Do If Your Cat Has Worms & How To Avoid Them
Think your cat has worms? Find out how to tell for sure and how to treat them is she does.
The bad news: Intestinal worms in cats are very common. The good news: Theyre relatively easy to treat, and most cats make a full recovery. Plus, there are simple steps you can take to prevent worms in cats and help protect your pet from these parasites.
Are Certain Cats More Likely To Get 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.
Prevention Of Worms In Cats Is Easier Than Treatment
According to Nichols, the best way to prevent intestinal worms is to keep your cat on year-round preventative medications. Many heartworm preventatives can also protect your cat from getting roundworms and hookworms, and flea preventatives play an important role in protecting cats from tapeworms. Your cats veterinarian can help you find the best options for your pet. Nichols adds that keeping your cat indoors and cleaning his litter box regularly can help guard your cat against intestinal worms.
Because cats can have intestinal worms without showing any signs, Nichols emphasizes the importance of having your cat screened once a year. This involves bringing in a poop sample from your cat so your veterinarian can perform a fecal float test to look for parasite eggs. The test is often part of your cats yearly wellness visit, she says, and it can identify the presence of roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and sometimes tapeworms.
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Preventing Cat Worms Is Better Than Curing Them
Remember, preventing cat worms is better than having to treat them. Your cat should be regularly wormed to prevent them being infected. Follow advice from your vet to find the most suitable preventative method for your cat, and how often you should treat them.Kittens can have monthly preventative treatment against tapeworms from six weeks of age, and every three months from six months of age. Adults can have this treatment every two to six months. Your vet will be able to tell your more.Your cat may also contract worms by swallowing a flea, as some fleas may carry worms. For this reason, preventing against fleas is also important. Find out more about fleas in cats in our article.
Can Humans Catch Worms
Its very rare for humans to catch worms from a cat, but it does occasionally happen. Its most common in young children who have been playing in areas where cats have toileted. Cats worms can cause illness in humans by lodging in organs such as the eyes, liver, heart and brain. If you have concerns for you or someone else, it is best to contact your doctor, or the NHS for advice. If you have small children, it is very important to deworm your cat regularly.
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How To Confirm A Parasite Infection
Now that you know what the warning signs are, you may have noticed your cat experiencing some symptoms. Here are several ways to confirm a parasite infection in your cat:
- Contact your local veterinarian office for an appointment.
- Collect a fecal sample at home, and mail to a laboratory for testing.
There are many options available for confirming a parasite infection. Taking your pet for a checkup to your veterinarians office is a good idea. Though there are alternatives to a costly vet visit available. You can now purchase a home testing kit of sorts. Collect a small fecal sample and mail it directly to a lab. You will receive results in 24 hours after the sample arrives at the lab.
Can I Treat My Cats Worms At Home
Although some anthelmintics are sold over the counter without a prescription, different medications kill different types of worms. Because you must first find out what type of intestinal parasites your cat has, make a visit to your veterinarian for a fecal test. Your veterinarian can then recommend the proper anthelmintic.
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How Can I Tell If My Cat Has Tapeworms
Vomiting up pieces of worm that is still alive is a good indicator, of course. Other signs your cat might be suffering from a tapeworm infestation include unexplained weight loss, though the most common sign your cat is infested with tapeworms are the proglottids. You’re likely to see those rice-sized, egg-filled tapeworm segments in either your cat’s feces or crawling near her anus. You might witness your cat “scooting” across the floor if the segment is irritating her skin, but this behavior is much more common in dogs.
Visible Traces Of Worms
You may find that worms, or parts of worms, are visible in your cats stool. They may also be visible around their anus, or possibly in their bedding.
Worms can be a variety of sizes the most common worm, roundworm, can grow up to 10cm long . Worms are usually white. Look out for whole worms, or sections of their bodies. Tapeworm sections look like small white grains.
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Is There Anything Else That I Should Do
Flea control is the cornerstone of the management and prevention of tapeworm infection. Flea control products are convenient to use. Depending on the type of product you use and the presence of other pets in your home, you may also need to treat your house and yard for fleas . With some of the newer products, environmental flea control may not be needed. Circumstances vary however, so be sure to talk to your veterinarian.
“Flea control is the cornerstone of preventing tapeworm infection.”
If the cat lives in a flea-infested environment, tapeworm infection can become re-established within a few weeks. This is very rarely due to treatment failure in most cases, reappearance of tapeworm segments represents a re-infection of the cat. Additional recommendations include:
1. Promptly have your cat treated when tapeworms are detected.
2. Remove and dispose of all pet feces properly, especially in public parks, yards, or playgrounds.
3. Teach and practice strict hygiene practices for children after playing outdoors.
How To Worm A Cat Or Kitten
Deworming cats is simple as worming treatments are now available as liquids, pastes, granules and palatable worming tablets as well as liquid spot on formulations so you can choose the easiest one for your cat. Follow the on-pack instructions in full and stick to the advised schedule for your chosen product.
Because roundworms are so common in kittens it is vital to begin treatment from an early age. It is recommended that kittens are treated for roundworms every two weeks from two until eight weeks of age, then monthly until six months of age and every one to three months thereafter. Kittens only require tapeworm treatment if they also have fleas.
Adult cats should be treated every 1 to 3 months with a product which is effective against both roundworms and tapeworms.
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How Do I Prevent My Cat From Getting Roundworms
Because roundworms can enter your cat’s body in many different ways, it is essential to keep your cat’s living area clean and, if possible, keep your cat indoors to prevent it from eating wild animals that may carry roundworms.
Kittens should be treated for roundworms every 2 weeks between three and nine weeks of age and then receive a preventive treatment monthly. Fecal examinations should be conducted 2 to 4 times during the first year of life and 1 or 2 times each year in adults. Nursing mothers should be kept on monthly preventive and treated along with their kittens. A monthly parasite control product effective against roundworms is recommended to treat potential new infections. Many heartworm medications also control roundworms so ask your veterinarian about prevention and treatment choices.
What Is The Treatment For Tapeworms
A variety of products are available to treat tapeworms in cats but they are not all equally effective. For the best advice on the type of deworming preparation most suitable for your cat, you should seek the help of your veterinarian. The most effective worming products are only available by prescription from a licensed veterinarian.
“After treatment, the tapeworm dies and is usually digested within the intestine, so worm segments do not usually pass into the stool.”
The deworming medication called an anthelmintic may be given as a tablet or an injection. After treatment, the tapeworm dies and is usually digested within the intestine, so worm segments do not usually pass into the stool. Side effects, such as vomiting and diarrhea, are rarely reported with the newer tapeworm medications.
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Treatment Of Roundworms In Cats
Heres the good news about roundworms in cats: Once you have a diagnosis, treatment is simple. Your cat will take an oral de-worming medication, which forcibly evicts the roundworms from your kittys intestines and allows her to once again become a host for more pleasant things, like Fancy Feast potlucks and afternoon nap parties. Both prescription and over-the-counter varieties are available. It might take multiple rounds of medication for your cat to be fully parasite-free.
Does An Indoor Cat Get Worms
So how do indoor cats get infected with worms? Indoor cats will hunt just about anything in your home. Rodents, insects, and other household pests harbor worm eggs, which are passed on to your cat when he devours them. Mice and the common house fly are just two of the many critters that can carry roundworms eggs.
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How To Prevent Ringworm From Spreading
An essential part of treating ringworm in cats is to stop it from spreading in your homeespecially since it can be contagious to other animals and people. Although it might be hard, avoid petting a cat with ringworm. Also, keep the infected cat separate from other pets and people at home, and wash your hands anytime you touch them.
To prevent ringworm from spreading, its important to clean surfaces and items where their spores may have spread, Lowe says. Wash all fabrics in the home. If they cant be washed, vacuum them. Sanitize cat toys, combs, and brushes, and clean surfaces with a diluted bleach solution.
Left untreated, ringworm usually goes away on its own, though it may take up to a year . To get your kitty feeling better faster and prevent ringworm from spreading, see a veterinarian as soon as you notice symptoms.
How Do Cats Get Worms
Cats most commonly contract worms after coming into contact with parasite eggs or infected feces.
A cat may walk through an area with eggs or infected feces, and since cats are often such fastidious groomers, they will then ingest the eggs or fecal particles as they clean their fur and feet.
This can occur in indoor cats as easily as it can in outdoor cats, particularly if multiple cats share a litter box that is contaminated with infected feces.
Cats that live outdoors and regularly hunt small rodents are also at a higher risk of contracting worms because the worms can live in the muscle tissues of their prey.
After eating a rodent thats infected with worm larvae, a cat can develop a worm infestation as those larvae develop to maturity in the cats intestines.
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How To Identify Worms In A Cat
This article was co-authored by Brian Bourquin, DVM. Brian Bourquin, better known as Dr. B to his clients, is a Veterinarian and the Owner of Boston Veterinary Clinic, a pet health care and veterinary clinic with three locations, South End/Bay Village, the Seaport, and Brookline, Massachusetts. Boston Veterinary Clinic specializes in primary veterinary care, including wellness and preventative care, sick and emergency care, soft-tissue surgery, dentistry. The clinic also provides specialty services in behavior, nutrition, and alternative pain management therapies using acupuncture, and therapeutic laser treatments. Boston Veterinary Clinic is an AAHA accredited hospital and Bostons first Fear Free Certified Clinic. Brian has over 19 years of veterinary experience and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 20 testimonials and 94% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 623,929 times.
How To Treat Your Cat For Intestinal Parasites
Intestinal parasites exhibit different signs. Parasite control requires a basic grasp of those signs and causes.
Of all the health topics cat owners consider, intestinal worms rarely make the list, especially if the cat stays in the home exclusively and never adventures outdoors. It is important to note however, that intestinal worms result from several causes and that we as humans can become infected if we do not manage the situation properly.
Signs to watch for when considering if your cat has intestinal parasites include:
- Intermittent diarrhea
- Little or no weight gain, despite a healthy diet
- Dull fur
Understand as well that that you are dealing with several different types of parasites and that they are not all visible to the eye. As a primer on the different parasites you may be dealing with:
It is important to know that most cats will require time to show signs of intestinal parasitism. The initial step in parasite control is having a stool sample tested by your veterinarian. Positive fecal exam results will determine the proper medication recommended for purging that particular worm. Be sure to consult your veterinary care professional before proceeding with any medication and never use a de-wormer on a cat that is otherwise sick, pregnant or debilitated. Worms are a health risk for sure, but properly treated can be cured effectively.
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Preventing Worms In The Future
The Cat Is Lazy Sleepy Or Lethargic
Cats are a wonderful pet that can be bursting with energy. Or at times cats want nothing more than to sit in a window and nap all day. Understanding what is normal ‘lazy’ behavior for you cat is important. How else will you be able to tell if your pet is lethargic? Here are a few examples of lethargy in cats:
An early warning sign of a parasitic infection may mean your feline companion is underactive, or just slightly less active than normal. He or she maybe just walking and moving slower than normal. Another sign is watching for inactive behavior. Laying about as if lifeless due to a feeling of general malaise. All can be a sign of a parasitic infection and should be taken seriously.
It is important to note that cats tend to be nocturnal. So napping throughout the day is not uncommon for your cat. So watching behavior between naps may give you a better idea if they are acting out of character.
Some cats have a slender build. Though noticing a drop in weight is often a sign of a parasite infection.
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How Did My Cat Got Infected With Worms
But there are others that infest cats, according to International Cat Care, including: Roundworms: Roundworms are the most common worms found in cats. Kittens can get roundworms from an infected mothers milk. Hookworms: Though theyre more common in dogs, cats can also get hookworms. Non-intestinal worms: Lungworms, heartworms and eye worms are three other types that live in parts of the body outside of the gastrointestinal tract.
Can Humans Be Infected By The Worms
Some types of worms can be spread between cats and people. For example, the eggs from some of the roundworms can be ingested accidentally, with the result that the egg may hatch and the larva then migrate out of the bowel and lodge in the tissues of our bodies. Whilst this is not common, there are reports of a few children having eaten the eggs and suffering eye damage and even blindness as a result. As the eggs are also left in the soil when an infected cat does its toilet, it is always advised to wear gloves when gardening.
The common tapeworms are much less likely to infect humans, however yet again this can occur, and is most likely to be the result of an infected flea being swallowed.
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