Intestinal worms live in many animals’ digestive systems. They’re incredibly common, making them one of the most likely reasons to take your cat to the vet. Of course, worm prevention is the best approach, but luckily, almost all cases of intestinal parasites in cats can be detected and treated at Germantown Vet.
Learn more about the symptoms of worms in cats to determine if you should take your feline friend to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.
Dangers of Worms in Cats
Some parasites, especially roundworms and tapeworms, live silently in small numbers. These freeloaders can inhabit your cat’s intestines for years without detection if you never have screenings performed. However, if these parasites grow too numerous, health risks can develop, especially in kittens. They can stunt your cat’s growth, cause abdominal pain and steal important nutrients from your pet.
Hookworms are particularly harmful because they burrow into your cat’s intestinal lining, which causes inflammation, irritation and vomiting. Hookworms can also cause blood loss and anemia, or a low red blood cell count.
Your cat’s intestinal wall responds to parasitic invasion by secreting mucus, which you can sometimes see in your pet’s stool. This mucus production and resulting diarrhea limit nutrient absorption, which can lead to malnutrition and dehydration.
Signs Your Cat Could Have Worms
Parasites are incredibly rare in indoor cats. They most commonly appear in outdoor cats and kittens that grew up in poor sanitary conditions. If you have an outdoor cat, watch for these signs of worms:
- Diarrhea and vomiting: Loose stool and the inability to keep food down definitely indicate a problem with your cat’s digestive system. Check the stool and vomit for mucus, blood or worm segments.
- Weakness and lethargy: These are symptoms of malnutrition and/or anemia.
- Odd appetite: Your cat may experience sudden hunger as a reaction to malnutrition. He may also refuse to eat or drink because of an upset stomach. Quick weight loss despite eating normally is a sign of tapeworm or whipworm.
- Pot belly: This symptom of worms is more common in kittens than adult cats.
- Dull coat and dry skin: The fur and skin are the first to suffer if your cat has nutritional deficiencies. Watch out for a dull coat and itchiness, especially around your cat’s rear end.
Ways to Diagnose and Treat Worms in Cats
A stool test is necessary to diagnose worms before treatment can begin. After all, an oral dewormer solution designed to target hookworms may have no effect on roundworms. This is why you should never attempt to diagnose your cat’s condition without a vet’s help.
The dewormer solution your vet prescribes for your cat should kill the parasites within just a few days. A follow-up vet visit three to four weeks following treatment ensures the worms have been completely eradicated.
To prevent another worm infestation, consider keeping your cat indoors. This is the single most effective way to prevent worms in cats. You can also ask your vet about preventative wormer medication.
Call Germantown Vet If You Suspect Your Cat Has Worms
Whether your cat’s intestinal parasites produce symptoms or not, annual pet check-ups are the best way to keep on top of them. If your cat ever exhibits specific symptoms of digestive distress, schedule an appointment at Germantown Vet Clinic right away. The earlier we diagnose and treat parasitic worms, the less likely serious health complications will develop. Eliminating worms promptly after they infect your pet also reduces the risk of transmission to you or your family members.
To schedule your cat’s visit, please contact Germantown Vet today.