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Praziquantel for Cats: Uses and Side Effects

Praziquantel for Cats: Uses and Side Effects

Worms can cause your cat to become weak and create a lot of trouble. Praziquantel is a drug that is often used to deal with this problem. In this article, we will learn about the uses, side effects, and the safe method of administering this medication.
Anuj Mudaliar
Quick Tip
Cats are usually aware when you are trying to feed them their medication, and may try to run and hide when they spot the medicine bottle. Therefore, it is recommended that you prepare the medicine beforehand, and wait for your cat to calm down so you can handle it safely.

Praziquantel for Cats

The infection of tapeworms is one of the most common internal parasite problem to afflict cats. Their presence can be confirmed by looking for tapeworm segments in the cat's fur, feces, and bedding, which look like whitish flattened rice grains. Along with tapeworms, cats can also be infested with roundworms, heartworms, hookworms, or whipworms, which can usually only been seen in fecal samples through a microscope.
Prompt treatment for these parasites is very important, as they can affect the health of the pet severely. For this purpose, various types of FDA-approved, easy-to-use, praziquantel tablets and liquids are available for cats in drug stores, without the need of a prescription. Liquid medications have the advantage of being easier to administer, and affecting the parasites faster. However, tablets are still more popular, as dosage measurements are easier.

Praziquantel tablets are very effective in helping the cat or kitten partially or completely digest the tapeworm, allowing it to pass out of the body. This happens as the medication is metabolized in the liver and excreted in the bile. When the bile enters the intestines, the medication damages the skin of the tapeworm internally, which makes the tapeworm lose its ability to cling to the cat's intestine, disintegrating it, and making it easy to digest. Similarly, broad-spectrum praziquantel medication is effective in getting rid of other internal parasites as well.
Side Effects
  • Diarrhea is an extremely common side effect of consumption of praziquantel drugs by felines.
  • Another side effect that can be commonly noticed in cats is excessive drooling.
  • Broad-spectrum de-worming praziquantel medication can sometimes cause partial loss of control over body movements, where the cat may appear confused or unstable.
  • In rare cases, the cat may also show signs of a poor appetite.
  • Vomiting may occur in sensitive cats, or even in the case of an overdose.
  • Check if your cat is allergic to the praziquantel medication.
  • It is extremely important that cleanliness is maintained in and around your home, as humans can easily attract tapeworms from infected cats.
  • It is also important to check for fleas, as they are very likely to be the source of the tapeworms.
  • Other precautions include abstaining from feeding your cat things like rats or raw fish, and daily thorough cleaning of the stools.
  • Make sure that the medicine bottle is always closed tightly, and is kept away from light, moisture, or heat, and out of reach from kids and pets.
  • In case of an overdose, seek veterinary help immediately.
Directions and Dosage
  • These medications can be used safely for cats/kittens who are more than 6 weeks old. Also, fasting is not needed before the administration of the medicine.
  • Praziquantel liquid and tablets can either be administered directly in the cat's mouth, or ground and mixed with its food. However, if mixed with the food, it is important that the cat eats all the medication, or the treatment may not be completely effective.
  • The dosage of the medication is extremely important to reduce the chances of harmful side effects, and this will normally depend upon the size and the weight of the cat. For e.g. cats that weigh 4 lb. or less need only ½ tablet, those ranging between 5 - 11 lb. need 1 tablet, and those over 11 lb. need 1½ tablets.
  • Praziquantel works quite fast as far as cats are concerned, and the treatment period usually lasts for a couple of weeks. The medication need not be given often. In fact, a single dose in a week is usually sufficient. However, it is essential that you consult a vet to get the best results, especially if the cat is pregnant, nursing, or has a immune system disorder.

It is very important that cleanliness is maintained in the environment, or it is highly possible that the cat may contract the worms again after the treatment, which may require further medications and visits to the vet. Also, if remedies such as tablets and liquids do not work, the vet may prescribe a course of praziquantel injections.
Disclaimer: This CatAppy article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of veterinarian.