Intestinal Parasite Infestation in Cats

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Intestinal Parasite Infestation in Cats

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Cats can fall prey to a number of intestinal parasites, including worms. An intestinal worm infestation can exhibit a wide variety of symptoms or remain asymptomatic for a long time. Some of the worms are a hazard for human health as well.

What are the most common worms found in cats?
  • Roundworms – These are the most common intestinal parasites found in cats. The adult worms look like spaghetti and can reach up to three to four inches in length. Kittens can get a roundworm infestation from their mother’s milk and cats can get it by ingesting infected rodents or the feces of another infected cat.
  • Hookworms – They are smaller than roundworms and are just less than a couple of inches long. They reside in the small intestine and since they feed on the blood of the animal, they can cause severe anemia, especially if they infect newborn kittens. Hookworm eggs are usually passed in the stool and they hatch into the larvae. Your cat can get infected through skin contact or ingestion.
  • Tapeworms – They are segmented parasites and can be anywhere between 5 and 30 inches in length. A tapeworm infestation can cause weight loss or vomiting. Cats usually acquire tapeworms when they ingest an intermediate host, like an infected rodent or flea. If your cat has a tapeworm infestation, you’ll usually be able to see rice grain-like worm pieces on the fur near the anus.
What are the general symptoms of a worm infestation?

The symptoms tend to vary depending on the infection’s location and the type of the parasite, but some of the most common clinical signs include:

  • Bloody stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Worms in the stool
  • Segments of worms near the cat’s anus
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Coughing
  • Constipation
  • Trouble breathing
Are some cats more prone to worms than others?

Cats that spend their time predominantly outdoors and cats that routinely expose themselves to soil where other animals defecate are more prone to a worm infestation. Cats that have a flea infestation can also get tapeworms. Cats and kittens that don’t get preventative health care are more prone to developing parasitic complications.

What should you do if you think your cat has a worm infestation?

Take your cat to the vet immediately. He/she will be able to confirm the presence of worms. Avoid diagnosing it yourself, since worms are not always identifiable or visible.

Can you catch worms from your cat?

If your cat has roundworms, a large number of those eggs can accumulate he defecates. If children ingest these eggs accidentally they can end up developing serious health problems. People can also acquire tapeworm if they ingest an infected flea. So, make sure that the yard and home is flea free.

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