As part of the family, we seek to provide the best health care for our feline friends. One of the key ways we can do this is by ensuring that they are free of parasites externally and internally. This is important for your cat as well as your human family.
What are some internal cat parasites?
Some very common internal parasites that we see every day in cats include roundworm, hookworm, and tapeworm.
What are worm infestation symptoms in cats?
Cats of any age may have subclinical infections and show no signs of disease. In some cases, signs could include vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Occasionally one may find adult worms in the stool or vomit (by that time the worm burden is quite high). With cats, it is quite common to find segments on the hind end or in the feces with tapeworm, though these are not always seen.
Do worms affect humans?
Some parasites seen in our cats can have the potential to affect humans. Animal hookworms are well-documented zoonotic disease agents and are the most common cause of cutaneous larva migrans (CLM) in people. Baylisascaris procyonis (raccoon roundworm) causes disease in people following ingestion of larvated eggs from a contaminated environment. B. procyonis can also produce neurologic, visceral, ocular, and covert forms of the disease.
What is the deworming schedule?
Kittens should be given an anthelmintic (dewormer) starting at 2 weeks of age and repeated every 2 weeks until regular broad-spectrum parasite control begins. Kittens require more frequent anthelmintic administration than adult cats because they often are serially re-infected via nursing and from the environment. Adult pets should receive year-round broad-spectrum parasite control with efficacy against intestinal worms. Control of parasites with zoonotic potential is essential. Outdoor cats have a much higher risk of parasite reinfection, but we do frequently see even indoor cats with fleas and worms. Even if cats are using a monthly product to prevent roundworm, ensure they are also being treated for tapeworm if their lifestyle puts them at risk. Approximately four times yearly for an outdoor cat that could be hunting.
Any deworming medication side effects?
Any oral medication has the potential to cause GI upset. Though infrequent, this is also true of dewormers. The most common side effect is diarrhea.