Intestinal parasites are a common problem in cats. Worms can be contracted by your cat at various stages of their lives, starting in utero from the dam, then through the environment via fecal contamination or hunting. Intestinal worms can have significant effects on your pet’s health, but can also be transmitted to humans. Humans are infected 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. A deworming schedule can be discussed with your veterinarian and will depend on multiple factors such as your pets access to the outdoors and prey, as well as the presence of children or immune compromised individuals in the household.
What are some internal cat parasites?
Internal parasites that may affect your cat include roundworms, tapeworms, toxoplasmosis, lungworms, giardia and coccidia.
Worm infestation symptoms in cats?
If you suspect your cat has worms, we recommend having a fecal analysis run on your cat’s stool sample. Common symptoms of an infestation include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, bloated or enlarged stomachs and the presence of little, white, rice-like segments on or around the anus and tail. Little, white, rice-like segments seen in their feces as well as attached to and around the base of their tail. Kittens will usually have a bloated, enlarged stomach often accompanied by diarrhea and some cats may vomit from worm infestations.
Do worms affect humans?
Yes, some worms can affect humans; especially young children and immunocompromised adults. It is important to educate your family on the importance of handwashing, especially after working outdoors in the garden or after visiting playgrounds. You can control your own pet’s parasites through prevention, but you cannot control parasites found in the environment from unknown critters or other untreated pets.
What’s my cat’s ideal deworming schedule?
Your cat’s deworming schedule can vary depending on your cat’s lifestyle and age. Young kittens often require frequent deworming until they reach 6-7 months of age, while an adult cat may only require deworming 2-4 times per year. Outdoor cats who have been exposed to fleas or are skilled hunters should be dewormed at least 4 times per year while indoor cats with less exposure to other animals or fleas require less frequent deworming. Travelling cats may also require additional deworming.
Any deworming medication side effects?
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.