Dull Fur And Hair Loss
Another telltale sign of a parasitic infection in a cat is directly related to their fur. As parasites have a free for all on the inside the outside appearance of our cats will suffer. These hair related warning signs include:
- Dull fur, appearing less shiny and healthy than usual.
- Excessive hair loss, more than associated with shedding.
- Thinning sections of hair, possible bald patches.
These are all concerns that may point to a parasite infection. Though they can also point to other issues, all need to be taken seriously. A dull or lackluster coat seemingly overnight can point to a parasite issue. Any hair loss amounting to more than regular shedding is also a cause for concern. In extreme cases of parasite infections your cat may loose large patches of hair, and have bald spots.
Dull fur is one possible sign of parasitic infection.
When To Begin Deworming Treatments In Kittens
In contrast to puppies, kittens are not born already infected with worms, but they can contract them from their mothers milk. Because of this risk, deworming treatment for a kitten typically begins from a young age.
Deworming treatments are available that help kill many types of intestinal worms commonly found in cats. Be sure to read the label carefully or talk to your vet to learn the age at which kittens can begin treatment with your deworming product of choice. Most products can safely be used on kittens age eight or nine weeks and older, though some are safe for kittens as young as six weeks of age.
If your kitten is younger than the recommended age listed on a dewormer, contact your veterinarian.
How Cats Get Worms
Its much easier for cats to get parasites than you might think. Cats usually pick up worms themselves by ingesting the feces of other infected cats. For this reason, outdoor cats are far more likely to suffer from worms.
Since worms live in a wide variety of hosts, cats can get certain parasites by ingesting infected animals like snails, slugs, fleas, or even rodents. Mother cats can also pass worms on to their kittens during nursing or even through close contact.
Cats who dont receive regular preventative care are most at-risk of worm infestation. Since fleas can harbor a wide variety of bacteria and parasites, keeping your cat flea-free is the first step towards keeping them worm-free, too.
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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.
Can I Get Worms From My Cat
Cats can pass certain intestinal parasites to humans, including roundworms, hookworms, and Giardia. Although people can technically get tapeworms, it is unusual because the person would have to ingest a flea infected with tapeworm. Due to the risk of transmission to humans, its important to have your cat tested for worms once or twice a year and to use a year-round parasite preventive product.
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What Kind Of Worms Do Female Cats Get
Female cats can pass on common parasitic worms to their kittens both in-utero and through the milk during nursing which means it essential to ensure a regular worming regime is carried out both during pregnancy and lactation. Common parasitic worms include tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm and heartworm.
Worming a Pregnant Cat 1 About. All cats should be on a regular worming schedule regardless of whether they are indoors only, indoor/outdoor, pregnant or lactating. 2 Signs of worms in cats. Sometimes you may see evidence of a worm infestation such as spaghetti-like worms in the vomit of cats infected with roundworm. 3 Cat worming products.
If you suspect that your furry friend has worms, bring her to the vet, who can prescribe a dewormer thats safe to administer to her. If you believe that your feline friend is pregnant and that she is suffering with worms, the vet visit is important.
Preventing Worms In The Future
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Why Is Cat Deworming Important
Just the thought of your cat having worms is gross and disconcerting. No one wants their cuddly fur-baby – that sleeps where they sleep – to have worms. Most importantly, deworming your cat is important because of the negative health impact an infestation can have on your cat. Having worms can vary from just being annoying to life-threatening. Kittens and cats that are medically compromised or fragile with age are vulnerable to health issues from worms. They can get anemia or become severely dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea. Kittens can have so many worms that they can not pass them through the GI tract, and that can cause an intestinal blockage, a fatal condition. Infected kittens that are not dewormed can also have their growth and development negatively impacted. Healthy adult cats rarely have significant health issues from having worms, but they are at risk enough to say they need to be dewormed.
Which Worming Products To Use
There are many different worming products available on the market, and drug availability varies between different countries. While worming products may be available from pet shops and even some supermarkets, these are often old or less effective products and some are even less safe to use in cats.
It is always better to seek the advice of your vet, who will know what types of worms occur commonly where you live, and will be able to recommend the most effective and safest treatments for your cat. Additionally, some treatments are available which may be easier to administer, such as an injection that your vet can give, a tiny tablet that can go in with food, or even some drops that can be applied to the skin.
See also our information on how to give your cat a tablet.
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Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases
Some estimates say as many as 3% of cats seen by vets have feline lower urinary tract disease , which is actually a group of feline diseases with multiple causes.
Female and male cats can get FLUTD, and it often occurs in cats that are overweight or unfit or who eat dry food. Stress, a multi-cat household, and sudden changes can all raise a cat’s risk of FLUTD, and treatment depends on the type of FLUTD your cat has. FLUTD symptoms include:
- Drinking more
- Licking around the urinary area
- Lack of appetite
It’s always an emergency if your cat can’t urinate. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your cat has a urinary tract problem.
Read more about cat urinary tract problems.
Common Worms And Parasites
Tapeworms are common problem for adult cats. Cats can acquire tapeworms by eating a rodent or ingesting a flea that is carrying an immature tapeworm, so flea control is important. Small, white worm segments around your cats anus or in their litter pan indicate that tapeworms are present.
Roundworms can be passed on from a mother cat to kittens through her milk. Take a stool sample to the veterinarian when your cat is scheduled for her regular shots to ensure roundworms are not present. These intestinal parasites may cause weight loss, weakness, diarrhoea, or mucus in the stool.
Hookworms may be passed on before birth or when nursing. If possible, keep your adult cat treated at mating and during nursing, and because hookworms can be transmitted through contact with infected faeces, keep them away from other cats waste. Hookworms cause anaemia, diarrhoea, weight loss, vomiting or black, tarry stools.
Ringworm is caused by a fungus that lives on the skin and is very contagious – it can even be transmitted to humans. Ringworm appears as oval bare patches on the skin of your cat. To minimise the risk, avoid unnecessary contact with other cats. If you suspect your cat has ringworm take them to the veterinarian as ringworm can only be detected under an ultraviolet light – once detected your veterinarian will be able to administer the correct treatment.
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The Most Common Types Of Worms
When people refer to a cat as having worms, they may refer to parasitic infection of any type of worms. The four most common types of worms from which cats may suffer are:
- Roundworms: The most common type of worm is the roundworm. It lives in a cats intestines, and they are usually between three and four inches long and have brownish-yellow color. Roundworms have a similar appearance to chopped, cooked spaghetti.
- Tapeworms: These are long, flat worms that are anything from four to 24-inches long. Tapeworms are given their name because of their tape-like appearance. They usually cause a cat to suffer from weight loss and vomiting. However, some cats show no symptoms of tapeworms.
- Hookworms: This type of worm is much smaller than roundworms. Hookworms usually measure between one and two inches long, and they have a hooked appearance with a red or brown line down the center of their body. They are potentially dangerous as they feed on blood in the cats intestines, and this can cause life-threatening anemia.
- Heartworms: These are the only type of worms that will not appear in your cats feces or around their anus. Therefore, it is important that your cat has an annual screening for this parasitic infection. According to the FDA, heartworms can cause serious lung damage to cats.
How Are Cat Worms Treated
cat worms are generally treatable, so long as they are diagnosed, arrested and treated before the onset of advanced stages of infestation. Your veterinarian can prescribe the proper deworming medication , along with the appropriate administration protocol, based on the parasite and extent of infestation.
- For tapeworms in cats, the medication breaks up tapeworms inside of the intestinal tract, making them too small to see in the feces
- For roundworms in cats, the medication detaches the worms from the intestinal tract, and excrete them into and with the stool
- For hookworms in cats, the medication kills the adult hookworms only. We will recommend another treatment in 2-4 weeks to treat the hookworms that were babies during the first treatment
- For ringworm in cats, we can prescribe antifungal medications, shampoos, lime-sulfur dips, and the shaving or severely affected areas
- For whipworms in cats, we can prescribe medication in 3-4 week intervals, and then every 3-4 months to help prevent a re-infestation
- For heartworms in cats, and depending upon the severity of the infestation, we can prescribe oral and injectible medication, antibiotics, special diets, diuretics to reduce fluid accumulation, and even extended prescription of heart medication in extreme cases
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Roundworm Infestations In Humans
Human infections mostly come from soil or sandboxes contaminated with feces from infected animals, but you could also acquire them from an infected cat in your home.
Not surprisingly, children are especially at risk because theyre more likely to put dirty fingers in their mouths. And, unfortunately, roundworms tend to affect children more severely than adults.
Since humans arent a natural host for this species of worm, the misguided worms can migrate to various organs in the body, including the eyes and liver , which can lead to liver problems or blindness.
Feline Hookworms Can Eat Their Way In Your Skin
Humans can also be infected with feline hookworms. As with roundworms, eggs are excreted in the feces of infected cats. These become infectious after five to 10 days in the environment when they have developed into larvae or juvenile worms capable of penetrating the skin by eating their way in.
They migrate under the skin leaving intensely itchy, red, swollen winding tracks in their wake. This is known as cutaneous larva migrans.
“Humans are an abnormal host for feline parasites, so the parasites become lost and confused in a human body and do some unusual things when they cannot find their way to a target feline organ.”
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How Do Cats Get Tapeworms
The tapeworm requires an intermediate host before developing into an adult. So, for a cat to get tapeworms, they need to ingest the intermediate host. For example, tapeworm eggs are frequently ingested through adult fleas.
The fleas actually ingest the tapeworm eggs before jumping on a cat, and then the cat eats the flea and becomes infected. The tapeworm eggs then hatch once they have been digested in the cats intestines.
Other hosts that a cat is likely to ingest include rabbits, birds, and rodents. Scavenging may also lead to an infestation of tapeworms.
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.
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Which Intestinal Worms Infect Cats
There are several types of intestinal worms that can infect cats, each with its own set of unique features, Jessica Nichols, DVM, chief veterinary officer of Spay and Neuter Kansas City in Kansas City, Mo, says. Here are the three most common parasites:
Roundworms. Roundworms are long, brown round worms that look like cooked spaghetti, Nichols says. She adds that theyre the most common intestinal parasite in kittens, and kittens are infected more often than adults.
Tapeworms. Tapeworms are long, white, flat, segmented parasites with hook-like mouth parts that they use to attach themselves to the intestinal walls of cats. Segments of adult tapeworms will break off and end up in the infected cats poop. These proglottids look like grains of rice that move, and they are commonly seen in the poop or around the rear end of infected cats, Nichols says. They eventually break open and release tapeworm eggs into the environment.
Hookworms. Nichols says that hookworms are less common in cats than roundworms and tapeworms, which is good because theyre particularly nasty parasites. Unlike other worms that eat food and drink materials floating around the cats intestines, hookworms hook their teeth into the small intestines and suck blood, she says.
Whipworms. These can infect the intestines of cats, but according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, this rarely happens in North America. Feline whipworms are more common in tropical regions.
Identifying The Type Of Worm
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