Are you worried that your feline friend may have worms? Unfortunately, it's one of the most common issues for cats - both indoor and outdoor pets can be at risk. But don't worry! Understanding how cats get worms is the first step toward prevention and making sure your kitty is happy and healthy!
In this blog post, we'll explore how our feline friends get worms, some of the signs to look out for if they do become infected, as well as what steps you should take if you suspect your cat has a worm infestation. With just a few simple tips, you can help keep furry family members safe from these parasites.
How do cats get worms?
Cats can get worms from several sources. Specifically, they may ingest worms from eating an unwashed or undercooked piece of fish or meat and the larvae will hatch in the intestine, leading to infection.
Some cats catch worms directly from soil when grooming themselves after being outdoors, as the eggs are passed through faeces from an already infected animal and then contaminate their environment. Cats may also get worms if they eat mice that have been infected with them.
Types of worms in cats
There are various types of parasitic worms that can affect cats, including roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms.
Roundworms are the most common type of intestinal parasite in cats. They are typically passed onto cats through their mother’s milk or faeces.
Tapeworms can be contracted through fleas, rodent prey, or even contaminated food. These parasites attach to the small intestine of the cat and absorb nutrients from their host.
Hookworms are most commonly found in young cats, as they are highly contagious and usually transmitted by contact with infected soil or water sources.
Symptoms of worms in cats
Symptoms of worms in cats can vary depending on the type of worms present. The most common types of worms found in cats are roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms.
Roundworms can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, as well as a pot-bellied appearance in cats due to their presence in the intestines. They can also be seen in the cat's faeces or vomit.
Tapeworms are segmented parasites that attach to the walls of the intestines. Symptoms include weight loss, poor appetite, scooting (dragging of their hindquarters across the ground), and an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhoea.
Hookworms feed off the cat’s blood and can cause anaemia that leads to weakness, pale gums and lack of energy. In addition to these symptoms, hookworms may also lead to coughing due to larvae migrating through your cat’s lungs.
It is important to follow up with your veterinarian since there may be more than one type of parasite present and additional treatments may be necessary if reinfection occurs due to exposure from other animals or contaminated environments.
How to treat worms in cats
Treating worms in cats typically involves the usage of an over-the-counter deworming medication and a veterinarian prescribed medication. Over-the-counter deworming medication is available in liquid or tablet form and may be administered orally or via injection.
This type of medication will typically kill the adult worms, but may not be as effective at eliminating immature or larval stages.
For more severe cases or when the infestation is widespread, a veterinarian prescribed medication may need to be used. These medications can come in pill form, liquid, chewable tablets or drops.
Depending on the severity of infection, your veterinarian may recommend that you have your cat tested for other parasites before starting treatment to ensure they are as effective as possible.
How to prevent worms in cats
Besides administering medications, there are a few preventative measures you can take to help protect against worm infections in cats. Keeping your cat inside and away from wild animals can help reduce their exposure to infected fleas and ticks carrying the worms’ larvae.
Additionally, controlling flea and tick populations around your home can also help reduce worm infestations in cats. Regularly cleaning litter boxes and keeping them away from food sources will also help keep cats from ingesting worm eggs that might contaminate their food bowls.
Lastly, regularly deworming cats is important for both prevention and treating existing infections with worms. Deworming should start at an early age (kittens) and continue at least twice a year throughout adulthood depending on their lifestyle (indoor/outdoor).
In addition to this routine deworming schedule, additional treatments may need to be conducted if your pet becomes infested by other parasites such as roundworms or tapeworms which require different medicines than those used for hookworms and whipworms.
Get everything you need to keep your cat happy
We hope this guide has helped you figure out how cats get worms and how to keep them happy and healthy.. Having a cat join your family is such a fun and rewarding experience.
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