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Tapeworms and roundworms are the most common intestinal worms
that infect cats. Most of the worm infested cats do not show any
external signs. However, when the worms start to multiply, it
usually results in diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and an itchy
anus. Tapeworms can also be passed on to human beings, which can
be quite deadly as they can remain dormant for a long time and
hitch a ride to the brain.
Types of worms
Roundworms – They are the most common
intestinal parasites and their eggs are passed through feces.
They can remain dormant in the external environment for years.
If your cat eats eggs from a contaminated environment or eats
another contaminated animal, he/she can get infected. Once your
cat is infested with roundworms, some of the larvae can remain
dormant in his/her body tissues. It is especially risky in the
case of female cats as the eggs can migrate to their mammary
glands and get excreted through the milk they produce,
infecting the kittens in the process.
Hookworms – They are intestinal roundworms
that damage the intestinal lining and cause bleeding, weight
loss and anemia. Cats can get infected by hookworms when they
ingest eggs from their surroundings. This can happen if they
eat an intermediary host or if the larvae present in the
environment manage to burrow their way through their skin.
Tapeworms – These are multi-segmented worms
that are long and flat. They need the mediating presence of an
intermediary host to complete their life cycle. They will only
get infected by eating an intermediary host. If they
accidentally ingest fleas while they groom themselves or if
they eat an infected rodent, they stand a good chance of
De-worming your cat
Roundworms are very common in kittens as they can pick up the
infection from their mothers’ mammary glands. It is safe to
assume that all newborn kittens are infected and start treating
them at a very young age.
- Treat your kittens for a roundworm infection once every 2
weeks starting from when they are three weeks old till they turn
six months old.
- Treat adult cats once a month.
Tapeworms are usually more common in senior cats. However, in
rare instances, even kittens can fall prey to a flea infestation.
- Adult cats need to be treated once every month with a product
that can effectively combat both roundworms and tapeworms.
- Kittens need to be treated once every 2 weeks.
What deworming product should you use?
There are a number of deworming products available in the market,
and the availability of a drug varies between countries. If you
are in doubt, seek the advice of your pet’s veterinarian. He/she
will be able to draw up a treatment plan that is suited to your
cat’s needs. The deworming products found on the shelves of
supermarkets are not that effective and the ones sold in
veterinary pharmacies are quite costly. It is better to buy them
online if you want to save money without compromising on the
quality. You can go for both topical
creams and pills. The
topical creams are designed to enter your cat’s blood stream
through his/her hair follicles. They are also easier to
administer than a pill or an injection. If your vet gives you the
go ahead, they are the easiest deworming option.
How to Treat Some Common Worms in Cats
Just like us, cats are also prone to various intestinal parasites
such as worms. They are a primary health concern for cats of all
ages, living in all kinds of environments. The majority of the
cats that are infected by worms do not show any signs at all.
These worms can cause serious health issues if they continue to
remain in the cat’s body. Also, some of these worms are capable
of infecting humans.
Cats that are infected by worms will exhibit the following
- Bloating or potbellied appearance at the abdomen
- Bloody stool
- Difficulty in breathing
- Weight loss
- Worms visible in stool or near anus
However, these symptoms depend on the location of the infestation
and type of parasite inside the cat.
Common types of worms in
The following worms are usually found in cats.
common intestinal parasite in cats is roundworms. They have a
spaghetti-like appearance and can grow up to three to four
inches during adulthood. Kittens usually get them if they drink
their infected mother’s milk. Adult cats generally get them
from eating infected rodents or feces of infected felines.
roundworms, hookworms generally reside in the small intestine
of cats. As they feed on the cat’s blood, they can cause
anemia, a life-threatening problem in kittens. Their eggs can
pass through feces and infect other cats either through skin
contact or ingestion.TapewormsTapeworms are usually
flat and have the capability to grow up to 28 inches in length.
When cats are infected by tapeworms, they suffer from weight
loss or vomiting. Tapeworms are acquired when cats eat infected
rodents or fleas. Small segments of tapeworms are found at the
rear end of the felines.
Also, there are chances of cats getting infested by lungworms.
They primarily reside in the lungs of the cat. One of the
symptoms of a lungworm infection is coughing although the
majority of the cats do not show any symptoms. The common
carriers of lungworms are slugs and snails. However, cats can get
them if they eat infected rodents or birds.
Regardless of whether your feline friend is infected by
roundworms or not, you have to start the deworming treatment when
they are three weeks old. Deworming should be done every two
weeks till they are eight weeks old. After that, you have to
treat them on a monthly basis till they are six months old. For
adult cats, they should be dewormed every one to three
months.Tapeworms mostly infect older cats unless your kitten has
fleas. To remove tapeworms in kittens, you have to use products
that are effective against Dipylidium caninum. If adult cats have
tapeworms, you have to treat them every one to three months with
products that are effective against roundworms and tapeworms
like Profender topical solution
for cats..Although there are many products available in the
market for deworming cats, you should always ask your vet for
advice. The vet will tell you the dosage and which product is