Cats love to groom themselves by licking their fur. They also enjoy preying on different rodents. Ironically, these two habits are known to be the most common ways through which felines fall prey to worm infestation. In most cases, the infestation is mild, and thus, does not cause any significant symptoms. However, if the case is severe, then the symptoms are also pretty obvious, and the result can be fatal.
What Indicates Worm Infestation in Felines?
Thankfully, the symptoms of worm infestation in cats can be diagnosed and managed with ease, and these worms can be eliminated completely by using prescription medication from a qualified vet. These symptoms vary with the type of worm in question. The common types include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, heartworms, and stomach worms.
One of the most common parasites that is known to affect felines and even canines, is roundworm. These worms are usually milky white in color and have tapered ends. Classic symptoms of roundworm infection include round bellies, vomiting (entire worm or parts of worms at times), diarrhea, dehydration, and loss of appetite. Other symptoms which may be seen are affected growth (in kittens), intestinal blockage, and dull coat.
These parasites are nasty blood suckers, which stay attached to the intestinal walls of the animal and feed off its blood. They are more common in canines than in felines. Owing to their tendency to cause profound loss of blood, they can lead to fatal conditions in kittens. Symptoms that surface in case of hookworm infection include anemia, intestinal bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and in severe cases, death.
Tapeworms in cats are small and white, and are usually detected in the animal's stool. They can also be seen under and around the tail of the pet. Appearance of small rice-like segments around the pet's anus, abnormal weight loss, and extreme hunger are the common symptoms of tapeworm infection.
As the name suggests, these make their home in the pulmonary arteries, lungs, and the heart of cats. These are thin and white, and can be several inches long. Heartworms are relatively more common in dogs. That, however, doesn't mean they don't pose any threat to cats. Even a small number of these worms in cats can lead to their death. Characteristic symptoms which may indicate that your pet has been infected by heartworms include loss of appetite, vomiting, coughing, weight loss, and wheezing. Additionally, the affected animal may seem more lethargic than usual and experience difficulty in breathing.
Stomach worms, as their name suggests, inhabit the animal's stomach. They are also known as ollanulus worms. Though they are not common in the United States, the chances of infection in your pet cannot be ruled out. Most common signs of stomach worm infection to watch out for are vomiting, weight loss, and lethargy.
As you can see, some of these worms can lead to critical conditions in your cat. Simple measures like keeping your pet cat indoors, keeping its litter box clean, getting rid of fleas, rodents, roaches, and other pests from in and around the house, and taking it for regular medical checkups are some effective methods through which you can help your pet stay away from these parasites.