Toxocara cati and Toxascaris leonina are the 2 types of roundworms that affect cats. These intestinal parasites are, on an average, 3-6 inches long. This parasitic infection often occurs when the feline ingests worm eggs that are generally found in the moist environment of the soil. Other sources of roundworm infection are consumption of insects like cockroaches and rodents by cats.
Protruding Abdomen: A swollen belly, followed by stomach discomfort, is the most common symptom of this parasitic infection. The belly is seen protruding in cats suffering from this infection.
Diarrhea: Presence of these intestinal worms may cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps. The frequency of bowel movement increases considerably. Diarrhea in cats is characterized by loose watery stools that may lead to dehydration.
Vomiting: Cats suffering from this infection sooner or later vomit. Occasional instances of feline vomiting may throw the worms out of the body.
Decrease in Appetite: The desire to eat food decreases considerably in cats infested with these intestinal worms. This is because these intestinal parasites occupy a bit of space in the stomach due to their relatively large size. This may be accompanied by loss of weight and stunted growth.
Unhealthy Coat: Roundworm in cats is often marked by poor coat condition. Due to this infection, the appearance of the coat completely changes. The coat looks dry and acquires a dull appearance.
Intestinal Problems: If proper treatment is not taken on time, the infection will aggravate and cause intestinal blockage. This is a serious health problem and can be life-threatening particularly in kittens.
There are anti-worming products, specifically formulated to eliminate this parasitic infection. However, consult a veterinarian to choose a product that is most effective. Administering anti-worm medication either orally or intravenously, at regular intervals as recommended by your vet, is essential to free the cat's intestinal tract from these worms.
The cat should also be given routine worm infestation treatment to prevent recurrence of this parasitic infection. The risk of intestinal parasites in cats can be greatly minimized by implementing certain preventive measures. For instance, make sure that your house is clean, free from rodents and insects, as these pests are potent carriers of this infection. Newborn kittens are highly vulnerable to roundworm infestation. Hence, veterinarians often prescribe a deworming treatment when these kittens become 2-3 weeks old.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.