Cat Worms Introduction
Cats are usually victims of several intestinal parasites such as cat worms. Intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea, weight loss, vomiting, dry hair, become looking thin, an enlarged abdominal appearance or irritation around the anus. It may not be the biggest risk for your cat, but you should definitely not underestimate this problem. It is always better to keep your cat in good shape and avoid every possible health issues. The most common cat worms are roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and lungworms.
How to Tell My Cat Has Worms?
This may be difficult. Sometimes you may not see anything so it is hard to tell your cat suffer from worms. Occasionally you may see something pass in the stool or be vomited. Moreover, some infestations cause few or no symptoms at all and can be activated only under certain circumstances such as when the cat is under stress or during pregnancy. In such cases, you usually need to bring your vet a fecal sample so he can analyze it under a microscope to determine if there are any parasites or their eggs. This should be checked on an annual basis to avert potential health troubles. Kittens and cats that lack regular and preventative health care usually develop complications associated with internal parasites. Some feline parasitic worms are hazards for human health as well.
Common Types of Cat Worms
There are four main types of intestinal parasites as stated in the introductory section – roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and lungworms.
- Roundworms are the most common cat’s internal parasites. They are one thing that is typically seen in cats that can be passed through the stool or you can see them in vomit. They have a spaghetti-like appearance and are round shaped and long. Cats can become infected in several ways. Kittens can acquire them from an infected mother’s milk, whereas adult cats can usually get them by eating eggs found e.g. in other cat’s feces.
- Hookworms are much smaller than roundworms. These cat worms reside primarily in the cat’s small intestine. They may cause injury to the lining of the intestine where they attach to the surface and suck the blood. This will likely lead to weight reduction, bleeding and anemia. Cats may be infected by ingestion eggs from the environment or by the larvae in the environment burrowing through the cat’s skin.
- Tapeworms are another type of cat worms that are seen very commonly in cats. They are segmented typically. You usually don`t see a long tapeworm come out in the stool or vomit. Instead, you would see a small segment come out. By the cat that suffers from tapeworms you would usually see something that looks like a little dried rice grain around the tail, stuck in the hair. Those are not individual worms, but only segments of the large worm, usually containing worm eggs in them. It is very rare to see an entire worm that would come out. An infestation can cause vomiting or weight loss. The cat may become infected by ingesting fleas.
- Lungworms are the last type of most common worms. They reside within the lungs of a cat. Most cats won’t show any signs of having lungworms, however, some can develop a cough. The most typical intermediate hosts of this sort of parasite are snails and slugs. Cats are also normally infected after consuming a bird or rodent who has ingested an intermediate host.
Symptoms and Health Problems Caused by Cat Worms
In the introductory section we have pointed out several symptoms and health issues your cat may have trouble with if it suffers from these intestinal parasites. To give you unified overview we specify all possible health problems in the list below. Symptoms differ depending on the type of parasite, but some common health issues include:
- Weight Loss
- Bloody Stool
- Dry Hair
- Enlarged Abdominal Appearance
- Irritation around the anus
- Trouble Breathing
Cat Worms Prevention
To give you some place where to start with the prevention, we have prepared the following list providing you several tips what you can do to prevent your cat from cat worms.
- As the cat usually gets infected by eating something that contains the parasites, we recommend you to keep your cat indoors to avoid exposure to infected cats, rodents, fleas and feces.
- Check a stool sample with your vet on an annual basis to avert potential health troubles.
- Try to keep your home flea-free.
- Take care of good hygiene of your cat. This includes e.g. changing cat litter or feces handling. It’s also important to frequently dispose of stool.
- Ask your veterinarian to recommend an appropriate internal parasite treatment or prevention program for your cat.
If you think your cat has some internal parasites, especially kittens which they all typically do, check your veterinary clinic first. Your veterinarian will be the best person check if there is any problem and who can eventually provide you with a treatment plan. Avoid self-diagnosis, since worms are not always visible or identifiable.
Cat worms may not cause serious problems in the beginning, but may cause some serious problems if the cat is not being treated accordingly. Therefore make sure to keep your cat in good health condition. Follow the tips from Cat Worms Prevention section and everything will be fine.
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