Intestinal worm infestation in cats and dogs is not a new topic for pet owners all across the globe. Maximum number of worms are isolated from the intestinal tract, which feed on the partly digested foods for nutrition. They enter the pets through contaminated soil, water, foods and feces. Over time, these internal parasites cause general weakening of the affected cats, thereby increasing health risks for the pets. Thus, apart from feeding healthy diet and regular grooming, maintaining cats free from worms and following proper cat worm treatment are imperative to keep them healthy.
Cat Worm Symptoms
Although there are many types of cat worms, roundworms and tapeworms are mostly responsible for many of the infestation cases. So, how can you identify feline worms? A simple way to distinguish between roundworms and tapeworms is, the former resembles earthworms but is lighter and thinner in shape, whereas tapeworms look similar to white grains and they are nothing but matured segments that shed periodically. Other internal parasites that affect cats include hookworms, heartworms and whipworms.
The major concern with infestation of worms in cats is, the afflicted pets remain asymptomatic in the initial phases. By the time notable signs appear, worm breeding is already at the peak and its population increases manifold. In such cases, worms are often spotted in the pet's vomit and stool. In case of some feline worm types, they are present near the anal opening, tail region and areas adjacent to these parts. Treatment for cat worm infestation is done according to the manifested symptoms, which include the following -
- General weakness
- Poor stamina
- Pot-bellied appearance
- Loose stool
- Bloating and excess gas
- Blood in stool
- Mucus in stool
- Weight loss without any apparent reason
How to Treat Cat Worms?
The health issue of cat worm infestation is not only restricted to existing symptoms, but it also poses many more complications for the afflicted kittens and cats in future. Hence, keeping a close eye over the pet's discomfort symptoms and confirming worm infestation at the earliest possible date are prerequisites for getting timely treatment. If the pet shows suspected signs and symptoms, get it examined by a trusted vet to diagnose intestinal worms as early as possible. The doctor will ask you to carry the cat's stool sample for microscopic examination. Treatment guidelines for cat worms are explained below.
Quarantine an Afflicted Cat
Make sure that the affected cat is kept isolated from other pets. As mentioned earlier, cat worms are present in soil, water, foods and bedding. Hence, if an infested pet is placed along with healthy ones, the likeliness of spreading worms is very high. Another concerning fact is, roundworms from cats can affect humans too. Thus, it is a must to keep the affected pet isolated, and regularly disinfect its bedding and enclosures which may contain parasitic worms.
Cat Worm Remedies
Using garlic is perhaps the most effective way for natural cat worm treatment. Possessing strong antiparasitic properties, it is effective for inhibiting feline worms and getting rid of them. Besides these benefits, incorporating garlic in the cat's diet is a sure way to keep the immune system strong and help fight infections. There are also other remedial steps for treating cat worms. However, they are not as reliable as prescribed medications for treating heavy cat worm infestation.
Cat Worm Medication
Once presence of intestinal worms are confirmed, the vet will prescribe oral medication for killing these parasites. They are also available as over-the-counter worming products. It is to be borne in mind that these treatment formulations (anthelmintics) are short-term in action, meaning they are effective for a short duration after administration. Hence, specific doses of these medications are recommended at regular intervals. In addition, topical formulations may be recommended for skin symptoms (if any).
Cleanliness is a Necessity
Cat grooming and maintaining cleanliness are unavoidable aspects for treating cat worms and preventing their transmission. By cleanliness, we mean keeping indoor and outdoor areas clean, specially those where the pet cat spends maximum time during the day. Check litter boxes for any signs of parasitic worms and wash them with a disinfectant. Also, make a point to remove litter, decaying vegetation, cut grasses and clear animal feces on a regular basis.
Importance of Vector Control
Tapeworms in cats are caused due to attacks by fleas, which carry tapeworm larvae. At the first sight of tapeworm segments in the pet's anal opening, it can be confirmed that the afflicted cat is also bitten by fleas. Thus, adopting flea control measures in conjunction with other treatment options for cat worms is imperative to ensure prompt recovery. Likewise, follow control measures for intermediate hosts (e.g. rodents, birds and ticks) of cat worms. Failure to do so increases the chances for repeated exposure to parasitic worms.
Proceeding for correct and early cat worm treatment is the responsibility of every pet owner. If left untreated, the infested pet may become anemic (especially applicable for kittens) and exhibit life-threatening conditions. Unfortunately, there is no practical way to prevent feline worms. Of course, maintaining cleanliness, deworming after every 3 months and regular checkup are the thumb rules to minimize the risks of worm infestation and contamination of the immediate dwelling environment.