Types of worm
There are two main categories of worms: roundworms and tapeworms. Roundworms can be present at birth, transferred in the mother’s milk or picked up from stools. Tapeworms can be picked up from fleas, raw meat, rats and mice.
Why Treat My cat for Worms?
- Both roundworms and tapeworms can cause ill health, especially in kittens.
- Worm eggs can be a serious risk to health in humans, especially children and pregnant women.
By following basic hygiene measures and by treating your cat for worms at appropriate intervals, you will be able to virtually eliminate the unpleasant effects of these parasites for both you and your cat.
How do I Tell If My Cat has Worms?
There is often no visible sign that your cat has worms.
- Tapeworm segments can sometimes be seen around the back-end of your cat or on your cat’s bedding. The segments look like tiny grains of greyish-white rice. These are often quickly brushed off or licked off by the cat.
- Round worms are only occasionally passed in the stools. Adult round worms look like white spaghetti. Usually adults are not seen and it is only the eggs that are passed in the stools. Roundworm eggs are microscopic and can not be seen with the naked eye.
- Analysis of your cat’s stools can diagnose a worm infestation, once adult worms are producing eggs. This service will be available from your vet and will be performed in house or at an external laboratory.
How Often Should I Treat My cat?
It’s best to ask your vet how often you should worm your cat as every cat is different. Age and lifestyle affect how often you should treat for worms.
As a general rule, if your cat hunts or scavenges, eats raw meat or has contact with children you should treat for worms every 3–4 weeks. It may be safe to worm your cat every 3 months if none of these risk factors apply. ASK YOUR VET!
In the early months of your cat’s life worming treatment should be given more frequently. ASK YOUR VET!
What Treatment Should I Use?
It is vital to ask your vet for advice. Many of the drugs available over the counter are not very effective. Your vet will need to see your cat before prescribing prescription only drugs.
- Tablets are a common form of worming treatment. Tablets can be hidden in tasty, smelly food or administered with care into the back of the mouth.
- Spot-ons are now available to treat for roundworms and tapeworms. This may be an easier option for some cats than struggling with tablets. Apply spot-ons to the base of the skull.
- Liquids, suspensions, pastes and injections are also available.