If your cat has been diagnosed with worms, your first instinct might be to panic. Don’t. Cat worms are not as awful as you might think. In fact, once diagnosed, cat worms are fairly easy to treat.
In some cases, you might be able to diagnose cat worms just by sight, as some cat worms are quite visible to the naked eye. In other cases, you might have to look out for symptoms of cat worms in order to conclude that your cat has a worm infestation.
One of the most obvious symptoms of cat worms is the presence of the tiny creatures in your cat’s stool. Your cat might have any number of parasitic worms wriggling around in its feces. Just a few of the different types of cat worms include the half-inch-long hookworm or the tapeworm. If left untreated, the tapeworm can reach up to a whopping three feet long and it may have as many as 90 segments.
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Other types cat worms include the roundworm, whipworm, and heartworm. Hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, and whipworms live in the cat’s intestines and the heartworm lives in the cat’s heart and in the blood vessels that lead from the heart to the lungs. If left untreated for an excessive amount of time, many types of cat worms could potentially be fatal, but it is important to keep in mind that the heartworm is the most dangerous of them all.
In addition to finding worms in your cat’s stool, other symptoms of cat worms include:
·Change in your cat’s appetite
·Coughing and hiccupping (due to heartworm)
·Distended abdomen kittens
·Inability to exercise
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In addition to recognizing cat worm symptoms, it is also important to recognize what the different types of cat worms look like. Round worms look like spaghetti and tapeworm segments look like little grains of rice. In addition to your cat’s food, cat worms can also be found on or buried in your cat’s fur, around his anus, and around his paws (from scratching). It is not uncommon to find cat worms in your cat’s ears as well.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent cat worms. One of the best ways to prevent a serious cat worm infection is to have your cat screened for worms twice per year. If your cat is considered high-risk for worms, you should have him screened more than twice a year. High-risk cats typically live in condensed urban areas and they usually live in a home with more than one pet. Outdoor cats are especially susceptible to worms.
Caring for a cat with worms should be done only under the care of a vet. Most non-prescription medications don’t work. Your vet will have access to a number of cutting edge preventatives that are extremely effective against the most aggressive types of parasites such as roundworm, whipworm, hookworm, and heartworm.
It is important to keep in mind that fleas are a source of certain types of tapeworms. When a cat accidentally swallows an infected flea, the tapeworms can hatch in the cat’s intestines. These types of tapeworms can also be transmitted to humans as well. Animal carcasses such as rodents and rabbits may also contain tapeworms, so if you have an outdoor cat, it will be impossible to keep your cat away from them. You may want to rethink allowing your cat to roam around freely outdoors.
It’s also a good idea to keep your cat clean and well groomed. You should also dispose of cat feces immediately. Never leave it in piles in the litter box. Whipworm and roundworm eggs can remain infectious for years, and hookworm larvae can multiply quickly in dirty litter boxes.
If you notice any of the symptoms of cat worms listed above, please contact your vet immediately.