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Worms in Cats: An Infection of Intestinal Parasites

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What Are the General Symptoms of Worms?

Symptoms differ depending on the type of parasite and the location of infection, but some common clinical signs include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Worms visible in stool or segments of worm seen near anus
  • Bloody stool
  • Bloating or round, potbellied appearance to abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Coughing
  • Trouble breathing

Are Certain Cats Prone to Worms?

Outdoor cats that hunt and eat rodents, and those who are routinely exposed to soil where other animals defecate are prone to worms. Cats that have fleas are also likely to get tapeworms. Kittens and cats who do not receive regular preventative health care are most at risk for developing complications associated with internal parasites.

What Should I Do If I Think My Cat Has Worms?

It’s important to bring your cat to a veterinarian, who can confirm the presence of worms. Avoid self-diagnosis, since worms are not always visible or identifiable.

How Are Worms Treated?

Please don’t attempt to treat your pet yourself-your cat should be treated for the specific type of worms he has. A dewormer that eradicates tapeworms, for example, will not kill roundworms. And some over-the-counter deworming medications can be harmful. After your vet has accurately diagnosed the type of parasite your pet has, he or she will then prescribe the best course of treatment, which may include an oral deworming agent.

Can I Catch Worms from My Cat?

Yes! A large number of roundworm eggs can accumulate where cats defecate. People, especially children, who ingest such eggs can develop serious health problems, such as blindness. In fact, roughly 10,000 children are infected with roundworms each year.

Hookworm larvae can penetrate human skin and cause lesions. And people can acquire tapeworms through the ingestion of an infected flea.

How Can I Prevent My Cat from Getting Worms?

  • Keep your cat indoors to avoid exposure to infected cats, rodents, fleas and feces.
  • Make sure your home, yard and pets are flea-free.
  • Practice good hygiene and wear gloves when changing cat litter or handling feces. It’s also important to frequently dispose of stool.
  • Ask your veterinarian to recommend an appropriate internal parasite treatment or prevention program for your cat.

 

 

WebMD Veterinary Reference from the ASPCA

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