There is nothing worse than a parasite affecting our fluffy friends. Today, I want to walk you through Tapeworm And Cats, to understand this disease and prevent it from happening to our cats.
Dr. Katy Nelson, PetMD Veterinary expert, said that “Tapeworm infection can affect cats (as well as many other mammals), typically settling in the small intestine.
She also said, “Invasion by the Cestoda tapeworm results in a medical condition that is referred to as cestodiasis. The tapeworm species can include Taenia, Dipylidium Caninum, Echinococcus, and Mesocestoides.
Then she explained how the treatment is essential against this parasite and said, “Treatment to destroy tapeworms is a critical step in preventing transmission to humans (typically children), and for averting damage to the cat’s body. When treated promptly, the prognosis is positive.”
So after reading this from an expert, you must wonder and ask yourself. What are tapeworms in cats?
What Are Tapeworms In Cats
If you open Wikipedia and search for the term “Feline tapeworm” you will find that this term may refer to:
“Dipylidium caninum, also called the flea tapeworm, double-pored tapeworm, or cucumber tapeworm (in reference to the shape of its cucumber-seed-like proglottids, though these also resemble grains of rice or sesame seeds), is a cyclophyllid cestode that infects organisms afflicted with fleas and canine chewing lice, including dogs, cats, and sometimes human pet-owners, especially children.”
Taenia taeniaeformis, a similar worm whose intermediate host is rodents. Which is not our topic today.
When you start digging deep to understand these diseases, you will find different topics, but all of them will give you one answer.
This worm is a long, flat, and white. They have a hook-like mouth to help them anchor into the wall of the cat’s intestine — their primary source of food from the nutrients that pass through your cat.
Most of these worms are 8 inches (20.38 cm), but they can grow as long as 20 inches (50.80 cm).
How Do Cats Get Tapeworm
There are several ways for your Feline friend to get this annoying parasite. The most common way is through fleas, as I mentioned above. The process can be explained as follows. Your cat digests a tiny infected flea while cleaning and grooming itself, then this small flea transmits the worms inside your cat and starts its life inside to grow into a full-sized adult worm. Another way to get this worm, if your cat eats small infected animals such as mice and squirrels.
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How Do Tapeworms Affect My Cat?
Tapeworms are unlikely to do any lasting damage to your cat, according to the Drake Center for Veterinary Care. However, this worm can cause some unwanted symptoms such as weight loss because these worms digest the nutrition of your cat food.
Sometimes, tapeworms travel to the stomach. Once they arrive there, they start to cause trouble related to the stomach, such as vomiting up still-alive worms. It is an ugly sight for you as a cat owner and a big surprise if you are not aware that your cat is sick and infested with this worm.
Cat Tapeworm Symptoms
One of the apparent symptoms you may notice is a vomit with pieces of worm that is still alive. Losing weight with no explanation is a good indicator that larvae infest your cat.
Seeing egg-filled segments, dried creamy colored segments, or pieces of worms in your cat’s feces a reliable indicator and the most common sign for the infestation. Remember, they live in the intestine.
Noticing your cat trying to lick or bite its anus is a sign for itchiness, which is one of the symptoms for worm infestation.
What Is The Treatment For Tapeworms In Cats?
Fortunately, the treatment for cat’s tapeworms is effective and easy with a good prognosis. Your vet will give your cat an oral medication, which is called dewormers. Sometimes it is provided as an injection.
Dewormer medications will cause the worms to dissolve in the intestines. There are no known side effects for this medication, like vomiting or diarrhea.
After achieving a proper treatment for your cat, the next step is prevention! What does that mean? We need to prevent this from happening again to your cat. Also, as a cat owner, you need to avoid this from happening to your cat in the first place.
They are reducing the risk for your cat to getting tapeworms to start by controlling these fleas ( the source of these worms) by using flea control treatments regularly. Tapeworms are not contagious, but they can be transmitted from one being to another. How? Through these fleas!
Different Types Of Tapeworms
Typically, there are different types of tapeworms. The one we explained and wrote about today called Dipylidium caninum.
The other type is considered so dangerous and rare compared to the first type, and it is known scientifically as Cystic Echinococcosis. An infection causes this type with the larval stage of a tapeworm, which is called (hydatid worm or Echinococcus granulosus) Normally, this type of infection is found in dogs, cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs.
“Although most infections in humans are asymptomatic, CE causes harmful, slowly enlarging cysts in the liver, lungs, and other organs that often grow unnoticed and neglected for years,” the CDC reports.
Another type of worm is called Echinococcus multilocularis. This type of infection can cause a disease called Alveolar echinococcosis. This tapeworm is found more in dogs, cats, foxes, coyotes, and small rodents. Alveolar echinococcosis can be fatal for humans if it isn’t treated, according to the CDC. But that, thankfully, is rare.
A study published by the PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases found only forty-one echinococcosis-related deaths in the United States between 1990 and 2007.
Other Worms In Cats
According to International Cat Care. Other worms can infect cats. Tapeworms are one of the most common types of worms found in cats.
- Hookworms are common in dogs. However, they can infect cats too. They are like tapeworms small and live in the intestine. This worm feed on the blood, which is a reason for anemia in pets. It is transmitted by ingestion or skin contact with an infected animal.
- Roundworms are the most common worms found in cats. Kittens can get roundworms from an infected mother’s milk. Adult cats can get them by eating an infected rodent.
- Non-intestinal worms such as Lungworms, heartworms, and eye worms are three other types that live in parts of the body outside of the gastrointestinal tract.
It is difficult to see our precious fluffy friends being sick and having such a problem. Even thinking about it makes us feel scared and maybe squeamish. As a cat owner, you need to be prepared to prevent this from happening in the first place.
So, Let’s make sure to always prevent such diseases from happening in the first place and keep our precious fluffy friends healthy and happy.
So finally, I hope you found this article useful and informative. Let me know your answer. What do you think? Do you have more information about Tapeworm And Cats? Write them down below.
If you have any other questions or different opinions about it, leave a comment below.
“In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.” — Unknown
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Your article is really informative and helpful for me. We are going to get our second cat in a few weeks and I want to use flea control treatments regularly. I wasn’t informed about this topic when we got our first cat and it got infested by these tapeworms. As you described it, I noticed a worm in the vomit of our cat.
Great news! another cat another family member to have fun with! We always need to pay more attention to our pets and their health. Reading information and articles about diseases not only after they get sick but also before for prevention purposes!
Glad I have avoided having to deal with this problem recently, with just one elderly cat who doesn’t go out. Great info here!
Prevention is the key and the best treatment!
Very informative article. I have three cats and used to live in a very damp and buggy place with a lot of fleas around. Let’s just say, they would get worms often. Even though my cats are indoors, the bugs would come through the window screens. I would always see the signs from scooping the litter box. Now we live in Colorado where there are virtually no bugs! Thanks for the info!
I hope more people read about common diseases for their pets to be able to avoid them or protect their pet from further damage. It doesn’t matter where we live, we need to read more about our precious pets and how to keep them healthy and happy.
Fortunately, you did not include a picture of a tapeworm. Just thinking of my pet not feeling well is distressing. One thing to add is that the full dose of treatment must be given. To guarantee that all tapeworms are eliminated, you cannot miss a dose or stop giving the dose when you think Fluffy is feeling better.
Agreed, it is distressing to see our fluffy friends in pain and sick. That’s why we need to learn this information to protect them and prevent them from such diseases. Treatment as you said, should be taken fully even if the cat is feeling good.