We always try our best to protect our felines from the dangerous world outside our houses. In doing so we keep our kitties indoor so that they do not suffer from any mishap or unfortunate incident. But even if you keep your feline indoors, there is a risk of her acquiring worms or internal parasites. This is due to the fact that cats have predatory nature that is used by them to hunt down mice and expose themselves to a contaminated environment.
Some of the apparent symptoms of worms in felines include:
Dull hair coat
Pale mucous membranes
Let us now look at some of the worms that affect indoor cats:
These are one of the most prevalent internal parasites found in cats especially young kittens. Roundworms have two species: Toxocara cati and Toxascaris leonina. These worms are roughly four inches long with white to pale brown colour. They are just like spaghetti noodles and reside in the intestines of felines sopping up all the nutrients from their diet. Adult female worms produce fertile eggs that are transmitted to the infected cat’s stool. This egg requires from several days to weeks to develop into infective larval stage. They can remain infective from months to years.
Toxocara cati infects felines when they eat eggs or rodents that have larvae in their tissues. Kittens get infected as the larvae is present in the infected mother’s milk. Similarly felines get infected by Toxascaris leonina except for transmission through the milk. For protecting your feline from these worms it is advised to maintain hygiene by covering the outdoor sandbox if not being used by her as a litter box. Also, please wear gloves while gardening.
These worms are commonly found in felines. They are flat in structure with different segments. These segments contain worm eggs that get excreted in the form of faeces. These segments are similar to grain of rice and are visible around the anus of the cat, in her faeces or on her bedding. Dipylidium caninum and Taenia taeniaeformis are two common types of tapeworms infecting cats. Cats get infected by dipylidium through fleas.
Flea larvae ingests the eggs of the worm and the infection is transferred to the cat when she swallows the infected flea while grooming. Taenia is transmitted through small rodents including rats and mice. Worm eggs are ingested by rodents which are passed to cats when they eat an infected rodent. To prevent any human infection it is recommended to maintain good hygiene.
These types of worms are less common in felines. They are thin in structure with thread like features that reside in the cat’s intestine. Due to their small size, they are hardly noticeable in the cat faeces. Adult cats get infected by the larvae when they accidentally ingest it when it penetrates on her skin.
Worms are diagnosed by conducting microscopic stool examination but sometimes even an exclusive faecal test cannot determine the eggs being shed in the cat’s faeces. Hence, it is advised to use broad spectrum dewormers when intestinal worms are suspected. There are lots of deworming treatments available in the market that can be effective for more than one species of worms. But do take the recommendation of your veterinarian before selecting the best deworming treatment for your feline. It is also advised to follow a regular program of giving deworming treatments to your kitty especially during summers. Remember, good parasite control is essential for the health of your feline.