Cat Worms

Any cat can get cat worms.

Diagnoses may be difficult as the cat may not display any outward signs of infestation.

Tapeworms

How can my cat get tapeworms?

The most usual way for a cat to get tapeworms is by eating fleas.

Fleas eat tapeworm eggs. The cat eats the flea during grooming and the worm eggs end up in the cat’s small intestine.

Another way that your cat may become infested is by eating infested prey.

What are the symptoms of tapeworm in cats?

Cats that have tapeworms will often scratch, bite or lick around their anal area.

Often the cat will also ‘scoot' (drag its backside along the floor.)

Vomiting and nervousness can also be present. Oftentimes though there will be no visible symptoms.

What do these cat worms look like?

As the name of this worm suggests, they look like a length of tape. But are actually made up of small segments, each of these segments contains eggs and detach from the worm, passing out of the cat in the feces.

You will seldom see the tapeworm itself but what you will see is the discarded segments in the feces, or dried out in the cat’s bedding.

When dried they resemble white grains of rice.

Hookworms

Hookworms are blood sucking parasites of the small intestine that cats can become infected with in a number of ways.

A common cause of infestation in cats is through the eating of contaminated grass or other vegetation, the eating of soil or the drinking of water that is contaminated with the hookworm larvae.

A cat can also become infested with hookworms by hunting and eating infested wildlife. Larvae boring through the cat’s skin is another way that your cat could become infested.

From the above it can be seen the cats that are allowed to roam outside are more at risk of hookworm than cats that are indoor only.

Indoor cats are not entirely free from risk however.

The kittens of an infested mother can be born with the worms; it is also believed by some that an infested mother cat can pass the worms through her milk.

It is possible for humans to be infested with hookworm larvae. People who walk barefooted are most at risk because it is the feet and legs that the larvae most often attacks.

The larvae will burrow itself into the skin causing a itchy red abrasion, which usually clears in a few weeks when the larvae die.

An infestation in a small child can be more severe however.

What do cat hookworms look like?

Unless you have very good eyesight indeed you will not be able to see these cat worms. The eggs in the stools of infested cats can not be seen except by microscopic examination.

So how can you tell if your cat has hookworms?

The symptoms can be, a poor scruffy coat, loss of weight, anemia, lethargy, paleness of the gums, tarry stools, diarrhea. Kittens infested with hookworm may not gain the weight and growth they should.

Treatment

The treatment of these cat worms is usually fairly simple; usually two treatments of deworming medication will eradicate the worms.

You will want to take your cat to the vet in cases of heavy infestation. In extreme cases cats suffering from anemia caused by hookworms may require a blood transfusion.

Lungworms

Cats infected with lungworm may show no symptoms at all or may have a dry cough, display a lack of energy and lose weight.

How can my cat get lungworm?

Cats get infected when they eat slugs or snails that act as the intermediate host or they eat the birds or animals that consume the infected slugs or snails.

Free roaming felines are more at risk of being infected by these cat worms than cats kept inside.

Roundworms

Roundworms are a very common parasite found in cats (and other pets.) Of the two types of roundworm that infest cats, Toxocara cati are the most prevalent, the other being Toxascaris leonina.

What do roundworms look like?

Thin yellow/white curled, round strands, not unlike spaghetti, two or three inches (sometimes up to seven inches) long.

roundwormVintage engraving of roundworm (Tricinella.)

Sometimes the round worm can be seen in your cat’s stools or vomit, however in most cases where these cat worms are present the cat does not pass them so they are not seen.

How can I tell if my cat has roundworms?

The symptoms of roundworm in cats can be any of the following: Vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, poor scruffy coat, lethargy, swollen belly, increasing appetite, decreasing appetite. Poor growth and weight gain of kittens.

How does a cat get roundworms?

Your pet can pick up these round cat worms by eating prey that is infested with them. Eating grass or other vegetation, or just by contact with the eggs of the roundworm.

Kittens can receive the Toxocara cati worm from their mother’s milk and for this reason it is assumed that it is likely a kitten will be infected with this worm.

How is roundworm in cats treated?

As roundworm is so common in kittens your veterinarian will likely administer deworming medication during the kittens vaccination visit.

Roundworm treatment for cats and kittens only kills the adult worm, the larvae survive. Several treatments are needed.

Usually an infestation of roundworm is not acutely dangerous for a cat, (but should be treated.) A severe infestation however can cause a blocked intestine or pneumonia; treatment of a severe infestation is therefore vital.

Roundworms compete with your cat or kitten for food, which could result in lack of nourishment for your pet.

Heartworm

It used to be thought that instances of feline heartworm are rare. Today it is realized that although felines stand less of a chance of infection than dogs, if a cat does get infected, it is usually more devastating.

This is because there is no approved treatment for cats as of yet.

Just a few adult worms can severely cripple a cat because of their small heart size. Feline Heartworm

Your Veterinarian Is The Best Source Of Advice About Cat Worms.

How frequently you should worm your cat largely depends on the life they lead. If your cat is allowed outside it is more at risk of picking up cat worms than a feline that is permanently indoors. Your veterinarian is the best source of advice as to a worm prevention plan for your cat.

A cat that is pregnant should only be wormed under veterinary supervision.

If you have any suspicion that your pet is infected with cat worms you should have her or him checked by a vet immediately. Unchecked the infestation will only get worse.

Cat Parasites – fleas, ticks and mites.
Being conscious of the problem of cat parasites is your first line of defense.

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