Intestinal worms are very common in kittens and adult cats. Most kittens are born with worms and will need to be dewormed regularly throughout kittenhood. We recommend every kitten be checked by a vet to see if it has worms and for a general health exam. Some worms can also infect people, so regular deworming is vital for feline and human health.
What are some types of parasites found in cats?
Roundworms are the most common source of worms in kittens and tapeworms are the most common source of worms in adult cats. Roundworms get into the kittens through their mother’s milk and into mother cat usually by way of contaminated soil. A kitten with roundworms will present with a pot-bellied appearance. Roundworms themselves look like spaghetti noodles and can be present in stool or vomit. They are easily treated with oral medication. Tapeworms in adult cats are usually the result of the cat ingesting a flea (with tapeworm inside it) during a self-grooming session. Outdoor cats can also get tapeworms by eating prey such as raw meat and raw fish. Tapeworms are about 1cm long and look like grains of rice.
If my cat has worms, what symptoms should I look for?
Vomiting or diarrhea with worms in it. Lethargy, weight loss and a pot-bellied appearance in kittens. Live tapeworms are visual around your cat’s anus area.
Are worms dangerous to humans?
Feline roundworms can cause disease in humans. Eggs from this parasite are excreted in cat feces. After two weeks in the open, they can become infectious to humans. If accidentally ingested the worms can migrate to organs such as the liver, lungs, brain or eyes. The disease in humans is known as “visceral larva migrans” or if in the eye, “ocular larva migrans.” If the worms migrate to the eye, permanent vision loss can occur, while a cough or asthma-like signs indicate they’re in the lungs. Children are at a higher risk of infection.
What is the deworming schedule?
Kittens we deworm regularly throughout their kittenhood and then depending on your cat’s lifestyle after that. If your cat is an outdoor cat, regular monthly deworming, especially if he/she hunts. Indoor cats can be routinely dewormed annually or less than that if their risk is low.
Are there any side effects of deworming medication?
The most common side effects of deworming medications are vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea and increased salivation.