Your cat can be infected by a variety of intestinal worms. Regular worming is essential to protect your cat, and to protect your family. Some intestinal worms can be transmitted to people, and can even cause blindness in children.
Young kittens are very prone to intestinal worms – most kittens are born with them, and they’ll pick up more from eggs contaminating the ground. The major intestinal worms are roundworm, hookworm, and tapeworm. These must be controlled to prevent problems such as vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss and anaemia.
One of the easiest ways to worm your cat is with Advocate for Cats – applied once a month to the back of the neck, which controls fleas, heartworm and most of the intestinal worms too.
For kittens, we recommend Revolution monthly, and alternate this with a Milbemax tablet (two weeks after each Revolution dose, until 12 weeks of age).
For adult cats, simply add a tapeworm product (such as Popantel) every 3 months for life.
If not using Revolution we recommend that kittens be given a worming paste when very young (such as Felex Plus Paste) or a small allwormer tablet (such as Milbemax):
- every two (2) weeks until 12 weeks of age, then
- monthly until six (6) months of age, then
- every three (3) months for the rest of its life.
Always weigh your kitten prior to worming and be sure to give the correct dose.
If left untreated, parasites can cause your family pet to develop a dull coat, anaemia, ill thrift (weight loss), diarrhoea, vomiting and lose weight.
Several of the major parasites can also infect you and your children. Many things can be done to protect your cat and your family.
You can start by regularly and reliably worming your pet. Regular use of Revolution, Milbemax or Popantel cat allwormers will shield your cat from the effects of all the important parasites, help reduce the population of worms in the environment, ensure the health of your pet and reduce the risk to your family.
Other preventative measures include:
- Always clean up immediately after your pets foul the ground or floor.
- Be careful that your pet doesn’t foul public play areas, and if it does clean up immediately.
- Fence around play areas – especially sand pits.
- Ensure that children always wash their hands before they eat.
- Encourage children not to suck dirty fingers.
- Don’t allow children to eat with their fingers while playing on the ground.
- Be sure floors are clean where children play.
There are a number of different intestinal worms that can infect your cat:
(Toxocara cati, Toxascaris leonina)
A high percentage of animals, especially kittens, are infected with Roundworms. Kittens may be infected from their mothers before birth, while suckling milk or from faecal contamination.
Worm eggs are passed in the faeces where they develop into larvae. The larvae are swallowed by another animal and then migrate through the liver to the lungs where they are coughed up and swallowed to form adult worms in the intestines. Roundworm larvae can also be found in the tissue of many animals and cats can be infected by eating these animals. Roundworms are important zoonotic parasites that may infect humans, especially children.
In cats, roundworms can cause the loss of weight and appetite, dull coat, vomiting and diarrhoea.
(Ancylostoma tubaeforme, Ancylostoma braziliense, Uncinaria stenocephala)
Hookworm eggs can accumulate in the environment and infect the animal either by ingesting the larvae or by the larvae passing through the skin, especially the feet. Kittens can become infected with larvae passing from the mother’s milk.
Occasionally animals become infected eating rats and mice that are infected with hookworm larvae.
Cats affected by hookworm can lose weight, appear malnourished, become anaemic, have blood in the faeces and dermatitis.
(Dipylidium caninum, Taenia taeniaformis)
Tapeworm larvae develop in the flea (Dipylidium caninum) or rodents (Taenia taeniaformis). The adult tapeworms reside in the small intestine of the cat and shed segments in the droppings. The segments, which look like cucumber seeds, are motile and help disperse the tapeworm eggs.
Infected cats may develop diarrhoea, gut pains, and matted tail hairs.
By Macarthur Veterinary Group