Worm control in cats
Any cat is at risk of infection of worms, however well cared for – and most will be infected at some stage in their life. Left untreated, they have the potential to cause real health problems for your feline friend: vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss and anaemia to name just a few.
A few worms (in particular Toxocara – the common roundworm) can be transmitted to people – and children are particularly vulnerable. Accordingly, you should make regular worming part of your cat’s healthcare routine.
The different types of cat worms
They come in a number of different forms: roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms – there are in fact more than a dozen different intestinal worms that can affect cats and dogs in the UK.
- Roundworms live in the cat’s gut, living off the contents and growing to around 100mm or so in cats. These worms can be passed from the queen to the kittens. Infected animals pass eggs which can survive in the environment for a long period of time.
- Tapeworms can be much longer. The commonest is the flea tapeworm (Dipylidium Caninum) which affects both cats and dogs, and grows to around half a metre. Cats that hunt are particularly at risk from tapeworm as mice and other animals can be a source of infection.
- Hookworms are only 10mm long but they attach themselves to the gut wall to feed on the cat’s blood.
Whilst all of these worms can damage your cat’s health, the good news is that they can all be controlled.
Treatment and frequency
Treatments don’t prevent infection in adult cats, so your cat could become re-infected shortly after being wormed. What you can do is to help protect your cat against the effects of infection by killing worms before they can cause serious damage to your cat’s health. Treating your cat regularly not only ensures that your cat stays healthy but can reduce the risk of certain diseases being passed on to you and your family. How often you should worm your cat depends on your cat’s lifestyle. If they eat raw meat, hunt birds, mice or rabbits then they will need to be wormed more frequently compared to cats that tend to stay indoors. Your veterinary practice will be able to recommend a parasite prevention plan that is most appropriate for your cat.
Worming your cat is now a lot easier. Giving your cat a tablet can sometimes be something of a battle so there is now an alternative to take the stress out of worming!
An easy-to-give, effective multi wormer for cats that kills all the roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms may be available from your veterinary practice. It’s straightforward and easy to apply (just a drop on the back of the neck) and will make it a much less stressful process for both you and your cat.
Schemes such as The Healthy Pet Club often include wormers as part of your membership.
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