May 14, 2021

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How to Tell If Your Cat Has Worms and How to Address It

Worms are a widespread situation for cats. In simple fact, as a lot of as 45% of cats have worms at any offered time. 

“Worms are common, specifically in kittens, newly adopted cats, and cats who commit time outside,” suggests Amanda McNabb, DVM, a veterinarian in non-public practice.

Your cat may well present signs and symptoms of worms, these as vomiting — but not all cats exhibit signs of a worm infestation. 

Worms are not generally harmful, but critical worm bacterial infections can hurt your cat’s intestines, bring about

weight reduction
, or even lead to demise in kittens. That’s why it is really significant to get common checks from your vet and just take techniques to prevent and deal with worm bacterial infections.

Here’s what you require to know about how cats get worms and what to do if your cat is contaminated.

 Signs that your cat has worms

“Wholesome older people may not have symptoms from worms, which is why your vet tends to endorse periodic fecal screening,” McNabb suggests. But in some circumstances, your cat may exhibit signs and symptoms of a worm infection including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or soft stool
  • Reduction of appetite
  • Blood in stool
  • Pounds loss 

You may perhaps also be capable to see worms in your cat’s stool or vomit. Every variety of worm has a different dimension and shape, Nichols suggests.

Kinds of worms in cats

Some of the most common worms that infect cats are roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and heartworms. Here’s how to detect them:

Roundworms glimpse like cooked spaghetti. They infect the intestines and are the most popular worms found in cats. Roundworms may not cause any indications, but major bacterial infections can trigger vomiting, body weight decline, or a pot-bellied visual appeal.

Tapeworm segments look like dried grains of rice or flat white sunflower seeds, and are normally transferring or crawling around the rectum.

Tapeworms tend to be additional widespread in more mature cats and cats that hunt. Your cat may not present any signs of tapeworms, but in some situations, there may perhaps be vomiting and excess weight reduction.

Hookworms look like shorter spaghetti noodles, measuring about two inches long. Hookworms have a ribbon of brownish-crimson down the physique and a hooked shape. 

They are a compact form of roundworm that can destruction the lining of your cat’s intestine. Hookworms feed on blood from the cat’s tiny intestine and can bring about anemia and pounds decline.

Heartworms never exhibit up in your cat’s stool or vomit which is why it is significant to see your vet once a yr to display for heartworms, claims Jess Nichols, DVM, Chief Veterinarian at the Pet Useful resource Heart of Kansas City.

“The most common behavioral transform is significantly less strength or much more grooming about its rear stop,” Nichols states. You may possibly also see that your cat has a reduce urge for food. But not all cats with heartworms show behavioral alterations

Heartworms are rarer in cats but can lead to major damage to your cat’s heart and lungs. In untreated situations, heartworms can direct to problems respiration, excess weight reduction, or in some scenarios, unexpected dying.

How your cat can get worms

There are various ways that your cat can get worms, which include:

  • If your cat goes exterior, a single of the pursuing: worms, worm eggs, or fleas carrying worm eggs can get caught on your cat’s coat. The cat can then ingest the eggs when grooming them selves or grooming other cats, suggests Travis Arndt, DVM, Clinical Director at the Animal Healthcare Centre of Mid-The united states.
  • Shared litter boxes or outside areas where by cats poop could also incorporate worm eggs, McNabb claims.
  • Kittens usually get infected by way of breast milk when their moms have a dormant situation of worms, states Nichols. 
  • “Some worms are also uncovered in muscle mass tissue of infected animals, so cats who hunt or are fed uncooked meat goods can ingest worms by means of their diet program,” McNabb suggests.

Cure of worms

If your cat does get infected with worms, there are a number of procedure alternatives. 

“Thankfully, there are secure, productive anti-parasitic remedies available,” McNabb says. Some of the most widespread remedies involve pyrantel, pamoate, fenbendazole, and, for tapeworms, praziquantel.

“It is greatest to have a fecal check to detect the worm to find the most proper medication,” McNabb says.

Anti-worm remedies can work in as minor as one particular to two days, but you may perhaps however see worms in your cat’s stool for days afterward. You should really often adhere to your veterinarian’s directions and give your cat the entire class of medicine. 

Avoidance of worms

There are critical way of life changes you can make to enable reduce worm infections in your cat.

“The ideal way to prevent your cat from staying contaminated with intestinal parasites is by restricting their publicity to outside, where stray cats and wildlife may possibly contaminate the natural environment,” Arndt states.

It is really also crucial to only feed your cat cooked food items, as uncooked meals are more likely to be infected with worm eggs that could infect your pet, McNabb claims.

These alterations could not do the job for all cats, so you can also use worm-avoidance medicines. Feline heartworm preventives like Heartguard and prescription flea preventives like Frontline can enable stop worms, McNabb suggests.

Insider’s takeaway

Worms are a common dilemma, but if you you should not consider techniques to avoid and treat them, they can have critical hazardous outcomes on your cat. There are quite a few critical symptoms that your cat has a worm an infection, which includes diarrhea, decline of appetite, and worms in their stool.

Keeping cats inside and only feeding them cooked food can assistance avert worms, alongside with flea and heartworm medicines. “Communicate to your cat’s veterinarian about their tips that will do the job greatest for your cat to keep them healthy and parasite absolutely free,” Arndt claims.