Worms in cats is one of the most common and well known health issues across the world. Even after you have taken every protection, there is no guarantee that you beloved feline pet will not contract some intestinal or other form of worm infestation and if not treated in time, this can become a serious health hazard for not just your cat but for the family members as well.
The issue with worm infestation in cats is that at times there can be no sign of any worm and yet your cat might be suffering internally. This is why you need to know more about worms in cats.
What they can be, how your cat gets them, what are the symptoms, how you can get rid of them, I have answered all these questions over here.
The types of worms in cats?
Let us check out the worms that you will generally encounter affecting your cat.
Roundworms are the most common forms of worms a cat contracts. This spaghetti type looking three to four inch long adult parasite can enter the cat or kitten through various means.
Nursing kitten can get this worm from the milk of the mother who has roundworms. Cats can easily get roundworms by ingesting rodents infected by this worm or by getting exposed to feces of other infected felines.
Roundworms are known for not at all being selective. It can be found in cats, dogs, and humans alike. Hence, there is a major risk that your family members may get roundworm from the cat or kitten.
Tapeworms are long and flat parasites and the entire body is segmented. The worm can be anywhere between 4 and 28 inches in length. Tapeworms are known to cause weight loss and vomiting in cats.
It is quite easy to find out if there is tapeworm in your cat. The small segments of the worm will stick to the fur around the anal region and they look like small rice. Cats can get infected by tapeworm from rodent or flea that acts as the intermediate host of the worm.
Hookworms stay in the small intestine and they are less than an inch in size. However, this worm feeds on the blood of the host and thus is one of the most life threatening worms among all. It can cause anemia in your cat or kitten and is particularly dangerous for the kitten.
The eggs of the hookworm get passed through the stool of an infected animal and then it hatches into larvae. The cat or kitten can get affected by ingesting or coming in touch with the infected feces. Do remember, hookworms are more common among dogs than cats.
This one is not much heard of as the lungworm stays in the lung of the cat or kitten. It is quite hard to determine if your cat has got lungworm since there is almost no sign of it.
The only sign that can give away the lungworm is if the cat develops a cough. The worm generally resides intermediately in slugs and snails. However, cats get lungworm from birds and rodents.
How to tell if cat has worms ?
Not every worm gives away clear signs in terms of symptoms. Hence, it may become difficult to know if your cat has worm. However, there are some common symptoms that will help you know when you cat has worms.
- Weight loss
- Blood in stool
- Worm or segments visible near anus or in stool
- Abdomen getting pot-bellied look or abnormal bloating and rounding of the abdomen
- Breathing problem
If you have a cat you have kept at home all life long and the cat gets regular medical attention, the risk of the cat getting worm decreases.
The risk is particularly high among those cats who are exposed to the outside soil and other areas that may contain feces of cats or other animals. If your cat catches rodents and birds, even then the risk of getting infected by worm is present.
The highest risk is to the stray cats that do not get regular treatment from vets.
How to deworm my cat?
The best way to deworm you cat is by visiting your vet. The vet can diagnose the exact problem and the type of worm that your cat has got infected with. Without exact information about the type of worm it is impossible to treat the infestation.
There are many over the counter deworming medicines available. While not all of them are safe, there are quite a few that are deemed safe for the cats. Some of them also have certification from the FDA. Always be sure while buying over the counter deworming medicine. Go through the composition and know the right dosage before administering. You will also have to know what type of worm is present in your feline pet.
If you give medicine for tapeworms, it won’t kill the roundworms. Hence, it is mandatory to know the type of worms. This is one of the major reasons why you need to visit the vet. Even if that is not possible, there are few broad spectrum medicine that might be helpful.
Do not wait for too long before taking your cat to the vet for deworming. You can certainly try by administering deworming medicines yourself. But, in case it does not improve the health of the cat, make sure that you visit the vet at the earliest.
How to prevent my cat from getting worms?
Cats are prone to getting worms due to a variety of reasons. However, you can always have some preventive measures in place. These small steps will help you assure better safety for your cats against worms.
- Make sure your cat stays indoors. This will prevent them from coming in contact with the feces of other cats or dogs or rodents, fleas and birds. These are the primary carrier for the worms that infects the cats.
- Keep the home, lawn and surrounding area clean. It is quite difficult to make your cat stay indoors at all times. This is the reason that you must keep these areas clean as your cat can get worms from these places too while roaming around.
- Always use preventive measures like wearing gloves while cleaning the litter. Make the cat practice good hygiene as well.
- Make sure you visit the vet at regular intervals. Do not try to treat your cat by yourself at all times.
Worms in cats are quite common. However, it is preventive as well. Gaining information is the first step towards guaranteeing your cat a safer life.