Intestinal parasites are a common problem in cats, especially if they are frequent hunters. Worms can be contracted by your cat at various stages of their lives, starting in utero from the mother, then through the environment via fecal contamination or hunting. Intestinal worms can have significant effects on your pet’s health. A deworming schedule can be discussed with your veterinarian and will depend on multiple factors such as your pets access to the outdoors, as well as the presence of children or immune compromised individuals in the household.
What are some types of parasites found in cats?
Internal parasites that may affect your cat include roundworms, tapeworms, toxoplasmosis, lungworms, giardia and coccidia.
If my cat has worms, what symptoms should I look for?
Common symptoms of an intestinal infestation can include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, bloating or an enlarged stomach. There may be the presence of little, white, rice-like segments on or around the anus and tail. These would indicate your kitty has a tapeworm. It is also possible for your kitty to see worms in your felines vomitus or feces. Most commonly, these are roundworms and are long and skinny, like spaghetti. Young kittens will usually have a bloated, enlarged stomach often accompanied by diarrhea.
Are worms dangerous to humans?
Humans can be infected by your cat’s internal parasites by accidental ingestion of eggs that have been passed into the environment through their pet’s feces. For this reason, hand washing after handling your pet or their feces is an important barrier to infection. Deworming your pet on a schedule appropriate to its lifestyle will minimize the risk to yourself and your cat.
What is the deworming schedule?
A deworming schedule is dependent on your kitty’s lifestyle. Your veterinarian can determine what type of dewormer your cat needs and how often they will need it. If your cat is an active hunter, they can re-infect themselves with intestinal parasites every 3 months. In those cases, they should be dewormed with a medication that has a tapeworm component to it and should be given 4 times per year. Yearly check-ups are required for us to be able to dispense any deworming medications.
Are there any side effects from deworming medication?
Although rare, some cats may have a mild reaction to a deworming medication such as vomiting or diarrhea. It is sometimes recommended to give oral deworming medications with food to avoid gastric upset.