There are several reliable and effective methods to handle worms in cats, as well as many preventative actions you may take to reduce the likelihood of a subsequent reinfestation.
Worms in cats are treated with prescription medicine obtained from your veterinarian and delivered according to the type of worm. Garlic, apple cider vinegar, pumpkin seeds, carrots, and turmeric are among the “home” remedies that claim to help treat and prevent worms in cats.
It’s crucial to know the many types of worms that commonly infect cats to understand how they get infected.
Types Of Worms
Mice, fleas, and even their mother’s milk are all sources of worms in cats. The most prevalent worms in cats are:
Hookworms attach themselves to the lining of a cat’s intestine. Hookworms lay their eggs in diseased animals’ feces, and the eggs hatch into baby hookworms that reside in the soil. Larvae develop from these eggs. They can be eaten during grooming or entered through the bottoms of your cat’s feet.
Cats can get infected with baby hookworms by digging through their skin and them finding their way into your pet’s intestines.
This type of worm can lead to a variety of health issues, including:
- Lesions on the skin (if larvae penetrate the skin and migrate through the tissues).
- Expectorate (if larvae penetrate the lungs).
- Diarrhea is a common ailment (with blood).
- A tarry, dark stool.
- Loss of weight.
- Appetite problems.
- Lips and gums that are pale (secondary to anemia).
Cats do not become infected by eating the eggs that proglottids carry. Instead, they contract tapeworms by ingesting infected fleas or tiny animals such as mice, squirrels, and rabbits. The bodies of tapeworms are long and flat, with small white segments. As soon as the flea is in the cat’s stomach, the tapeworm hatches.
Cats may hurt or lick their anus or drag their behinds on the floor, among other things. It’s important to remember that tapeworm infections are frequently asymptomatic. As a tapeworm matures, portions of its body break off and enter your cat’s intestines. In your cat’s feces, you may notice dried, white, or cream-colored tapeworm segments.
Tapeworms in cats can cause the following signs and symptoms:
- The coat is shaggy.
- The appetite is unpredictable.
- Failure to perform tasks.
- Mild diarrhea
- Complications and obstructions in the intestine.
Cats are prone to roundworms. Roundworms are commonly found in kittens, transmitted through the milk of an infected mother. In addition, roundworm eggs from the excrement of an infected dog or cat, as well as roundworm pups from the meat of an infected mouse or another small mammal, can infect both adult cats and kittens.
Cats can get roundworms by eating rodents that have larvae in their tissues or by consuming roundworm eggs.
Roundworms can cause a variety of significant problems, including:
- Pneumonia/coughing (if larvae penetrate the lungs and mature in the respiratory tract).
- Vomit (which may contain adult worms).
- Abdominal distension (enlarged).
- Loss of weight/unhealthy appearance.
- Obstruction of the intestine (in severe cases).
Can Humans Get Worms From Cats?
Yes, sadly, humans can catch worms from their cats. However, this will depend on the type of worm in question.
The acquisition of roundworms comes from various sources, including contaminated soil or feces containing roundworm eggs. The accidental consumption of roundworm eggs will lead to larvae hatching and moving throughout the body. Getting this worm can result in severe organ damage, such as blindness and respiratory failure.
Humans can contract tapeworms if they eat an infected flea by accident. Certain tapeworm species have evolved to the point where they can cause serious harm to canines and people. This type of worm in a human is dangerous and can cause a potentially fatal condition in which tumor-like masses develop in many organs, mainly the liver.
Hookworms are parasitic worms that dwell in a dog’s intestines, similar to tapeworms and roundworms. Humans can also contract hookworms. Hookworms, like tapeworms, can enter humans by inadvertent consumption (for example, after petting your flea-infested dog or cat).
If you walk across a polluted area in your bare feet, hookworm larvae can burrow into your skin.
How To Treat Them? Best Ways To Do It
Regardless of the type of worm, we recommend waiting for your veterinarian to administer an injection or an oral treatment.
When administering the prescribed drug, the worms disintegrate in the intestines once the deworming drug takes effect. As a result, they are not seen in the feces of cats.
Treat your pets for roundworms when they’re young and tapeworms when they’re older. However, there are several over-the-counter treatments and dewormers that veterinarians frequently recommend.
Intestinal worms are common in cats, especially those who spend time outside. Deworming is an inexpensive and straightforward procedure that will swiftly eliminate your cat’s worm problems. However, they must be given to your cat carefully and following your veterinarian’s instructions.
To eliminate any larvae that may have hatched after the first treatment, your cat may need several doses. It’s critical to realize that worms are impossible to avoid and that they’re so common that the vast majority of our cats will get infected with them.
A good ‘spot-on’ flea treatment can also control fleas, and while the tapeworm treatment, due to its difference, needs to be separate, the flea treatment will lower the chances of having your cat ingest tapeworm eggs through a flea. The standard practice is to spot-treat fleas and worms every month, followed by a separate tapeworm treatment every two to three months.
Because regular worm treatment is so critical to your cat’s health, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before determining which products are best for your cat.
To treat roundworms, standard recommendations are:
- From 3 weeks to 8 weeks of age, treat kittens for roundworms every two weeks, then monthly until they are six months of age.
- Every 1-3 months is the common timelapse for treatment in adult cats (above the age of 6 months).
Unless a kitten also has fleas, tapeworms are usually only a concern in older cats. However, adult cats (above the age of 6 months) should be treated effectively against both tapeworms and roundworms every 1-3 months.
How To Prevent Worms In Pets
Whether your cat has had tapeworms before or you wish to prevent it, the best way to prevent tapeworms in cats is to give it flea and tick medicine.
Your veterinarian can prescribe a flea and tick preventative treatment to keep your cat healthy and clear of tapeworms.
Pet parents should practice excellent sanitation, including cleaning and sanitizing litter boxes daily, minimizing overcrowding of cats and litter boxes, and requesting regular stool analysis as part of your cat’s routine wellness examinations.
Result Of Lack Of Treatment
Untreated worm infestations can be hazardous to your cat’s health, even lethal.
Depending on the direction of larval migration, serious skin infections, blindness, convulsions, or pneumonia could arise from larvae migrating through the organs and tissues of the body on their journey to the gut.
Because many different worms can infect cats, it’s essential to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms. Not only can prompt treatment help to prevent the infestation in your cat from worsening, but it will also safeguard the other cats (and humans) in your home.
It is necessary to have your cat examined once a year because cats can have intestinal worms without presenting any symptoms. This exam entails bringing in a sample of your cat’s feces so that your veterinarian can do a fecal float test to check for parasite eggs.
All of these facts are crucial for pet owners to take into consideration for the preservation of their feline friend’s life in case they are diagnosed.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.