6 out of 10 cats are infected with worms at any one time! A female tapeworm can pass up to 200,000 eggs a day! A cat tapeworm can measure uo to 60cm in length!
How can I tell if my cat has worms?
There are two types of roundworm and many different tapeworm species that affect the cat. The roundworm can be vomited up or passed out in faeces and the tapeworm segments can cause irritation around the anus and cause the cat to lick that area excessively.
Why should I worm my cat?
An affected kitten can have diarrhoea, a poor coat and gas can accumulate in the intestine, resulting in a pot bellied appearance. Tapeworms usually cause no sypmtoms but a severe infection may cause abdominal pain and altered eating patterns. Worms can also weaken a cat’s immune system therefore making them more prone to infections. The roundworm Toxocara cati can also affect people. Children being the most at risk. If a human eats a roundworm egg, the larvae can migrate through the body damaging organs such as the eye.
The cat is the only type of animal where Toxoplasma can change to an infectious form. An infectious cat will excrete egg cysts into its faeces for approximately two weeks after the initial infection. But if the cat is becomes FeLV or FIV positive, the infection could be reactivated. The cysts can survive in the soil for years and farm animals can eat these which in turn continues the cycle.The main risk from Toxoplsma is to an unborn child as the organism can pass from mother to baby. People whose body defences are weakened are also at risk.
How can I prevent my cat from getting worms?
We can advise you on a worming programme for your cat. Kittens should start from 2 weeks of age and every 2 weeks until 12 weeks old and then monthly until 6 mths old. Ideally, they should be wormed every 3 mths for the rest of their lives. Flea treatment should also be given beacause the flea is involved in the life cycle of the commonest tapeworm found in cats. Cat owners must take sensible precautions and dispose of cat litter properly each day and ensure that everybody washes their hands after playing with their cat. Feeding dried, canned or cooked food can help to control the problem.