Types Of Worm In Cats
Cat parents are constantly worried for the safety of their pets, and leave no stone unturned if they are down with any kind of disease. So, it is not uncommon for cat parents to get a nasty shock if their feline buddy suddenly starts displaying signs of worm in cats - such as urinary incontinence, nausea, frequent vomiting, and diarrhoea.
Cats often face the risk of contracting gastrointestinal (GI) parasites which can cause several underlying health issues if left unchecked. However, worm in cats can be easily treated. As long as you know how to deworm a cat, your royal kitty can easily recover from a worm infestation.
How do cats get worms?
Coming in contact with parasite eggs or infected faeces
Cats can contract worms and parasites in several ways. However, the most common way for cats to get worms is by coming in contact with parasite eggs or infected faeces. Parasites like tapeworms can also affect cats through fleas, which leave behind parasitic larvae on the skin. These larvae, when ingested while scratching or grooming can enter the digestive tract, causing an infestation. Indirect contact also involves the risk of getting worms, especially through eggs present in infected faecal matter. So, for households with multiple cats, it is a wise idea to separate litter trays if you suspect a cat is suffering from worms.
Through other animals, rodents or insects
Parasites and worm in cats can be contracted through other mediums, such as animals, rodents, and insects. Though it rarely affects cats, mosquitoes are a career of heartworms, which can put cats at fatal risk. Insects like cockroaches are also carriers of parasites, which can end up in a cat’s digestive tract. Cockroaches are likely to spread parasites to rodents such as rats, who are hunted down by cats for food. Rats infected by parasites and worms can pass them on to cats. Worms can also be spread through animal saliva or can enter through open wounds.
Types of worms in cats
Commonly found worms
Roundworm in cats is quite common and often causes deaths in kittens. Roundworms are perhaps the worst types of worms in cats that stay inside the intestines. These parasites affect almost all cats through the span of their lifetime, often causing intestinal diseases, abdominal discomfort, frequent vomiting and diarrhoea, and poor appetite. Also known as ascarids, roundworm in cats have a large, round appearance and can grow up to 3-6 inches in length.
Like roundworms in cats, hookworms are also parasitic organisms found in the intestines of feline furries. Unlike roundworms that swim around within the intestinal cavity, hookworms attach themselves to the lining of the intestinal walls using hook-like anchors present around their mouth. Hookworms are generally not visible to the naked eye due to their small size measuring just one-eighth of an inch. In cats, hookworms are known for causing serious health concerns such as blood loss, diarrhoea, and rapid weight loss.
Though tapeworms can be commonly observed in most mammals, the particular species of tapeworms known to affect cats is known as Dipylidium Caninum. Tapeworms can be passed on from one cat to another through infected faecal matter. Adult tapeworms in cats can grow up to around 11 inches and are often found on the lining of the smaller intestine. Like hookworms, tapeworms use hook-like structures present around their mouthpart to latch onto the intestinal walls. Tapeworms in cats is commonly associated with weight loss.
Less commonly found worms
Lungworms are types of worms in cats that are more frequently observed in wild cats as opposed to housecats and can lead to blocked airways due to the accumulation of larvae and mucous, causing respiratory problems and difficulty in breathing. Some of the common symptoms of lungworm are laboured and irregular breathing, persistent coughing, respiratory distress or failure.
Cats also often face the threats of stomach worms, such as Ollanulus tricuspis and Physaloptera. These gastrointestinal parasites can be passed to cats when they ingest other infected animals, such as rodents. Once ingested, adult female stomach worms can latch onto the inner lining of the wall of the stomach, releasing eggs. Stomach worms are difficult to diagnose, as they do not manifest any visible signs of worm in cats or disease, though they can be microscopically detected in the stool of an infected cat. The possible signs include loss of weight, frequent vomiting, and diarrhoea.
The most common type of bladder worms or urine worms to infect cats is Capillaria Feliscati, which is small and delicate in its appearance but can grow up to 16 to 53mm. These yellowish parasitic nematodes can lead to painful urination and incontinence, and can also irritate the mucosa of the feline urinary system. Bladder worms in cats are also the leading reason behind lower urinary tract disease in cats.
Heartworms are probably among the most fatal and threatening parasites to affect cats. Though heartworms affect dogs more frequently than cats, they can still spread to cats after being bitten by infected mosquitoes. Cats are not natural hosts to heartworms, but outdoor cats often face the risk of getting infected. Heartworms can release microfilariae in the bloodstream, which can cause several fatal health disorders.
Symptoms of worms in cats
- Weight loss
- Mucoid or bloody faeces
- Loss/increase of appetite
Guide for deworming cats
Cat deworming is not a complicated process and can be effectively carried out using various method for deworming cats, such as:
Deworming using home remedies
Garlic, apple cider vinegar, carrots, pumpkin seeds, and turmeric are readily available in households and feeding these are excellent method for deworming cats.
Using deworming medication
Over-the-counter cat worm medicine, also known as dewormers are popularly used for cat deworming. They are faster and significantly more efficient method for deworming cats than home remedies. Cat worm medicines like Drontal and Panacur contain drugs such as pyrantel and fenbendazole that are responsible for treating different types of worms in cats. Injectable deworming medicine for cats can also be used for worm treatment.
Consult a specialist
If your cat has started showing symptoms such as nausea and lethargy, troubled breathing, frequent diarrhoea, vomiting and diarrhoea, it mostly indicates parasitic action which might require professional attention. Worm-related infestations can lead to fatal health risks if left unchecked, and it is always recommended to consult a veterinarian before starting any deworming medicine for cats.
Ways to prevent worms in cats
Treating parasites and worms in cats is easy, as long as you know how to deworm a cat. Here are some additional ways to prevent worms in cats.
Better hygiene practice
Indoor cats can come in contact with worms through faeces, so remember to clean out the litter tray frequently to avoid any exposure. And active pest control can ensure your beloved feline doesn't come in contact with infected insects and rodents.
Flea prevention regimen
In addition to skin infections, fleas are notorious for depositing parasitic larvae on cats, which might enter the digestive system when your feline friend tries to lick itself clean. If your cat enjoys venturing outdoors, remember to give it frequent baths to get rid of fleas and larvae.
Deworming every three months
To reduce the chances of worm and parasitic infestations, cats need to be dewormed as frequently as every three months. Over-the-counter oral and injective medicines can play an efficient role in paralyzing parasites and preventing worm infestation.
Can I deworm my cat myself?
Yes, cat parents can deworm their kitty by themselves. There are home remedies as well as medicines for deworming cats. However, most cats do not share the best relationship with oral medicines, so make sure your feline swallows the medicine.
How often should you deworm a cat?
As cat parents, it is essential to know about deworming cats. As kittens are more susceptible to parasite infestations, they must be given dewormers at least on a fortnightly basis from as early as 15 days after their birth. Once they are 3 months of age, dewormers can be administered once every month. Adult cats and kittens over 6 months can be treated with dewormers every 3 months.
How do I know if my cat needs deworming?
Though cats need to be dewormed irrespective of signs of worms in cats, some specific symptoms such as nausea, frequent vomiting and diarrhoea, lethargy, pot-belly, and urinary incontinence can indicate that your kitty is suffering from parasites and needs cat deworming.
What is the best way to deworm a cat?
The best way of deworming cats is through over-the-counter cat worm medicines. Oral medications are mostly available as tablets suited for adult cats and kittens over 6 months of age. Kittens under 6 months can be treated with dewormer syrups. Injective dewormers are also available.
What to expect after deworming a cat?
Deworming cats is considerably safe. Once dewormed, your cat will poop to be able to safely pass any parasite or worm present in its gastrointestinal canal. Topical dewormers can cause a temporary loss of hair at the site of application.