Spring is hunting season for cats, which increases the risk of infection with worms. This is because, in addition to small animals, your proud pet sometimes also brings parasites into the house. Our veterinary practitioner informs you about the possible risks of worms and explains when a worming treatment for cats makes sense.
How you can prevent worms in cats
If your cat is an outdoor cat, it very likely kills and eats small rodents frequently. Regular worming is therefore recommended every three months or so. You can also take fecal samples beforehand to be sure that a worming treatment is necessary. To do this, collect your cat's feces over three days, as the eggs are not detectable with every excretion.
To create a worm-resistant intestinal environment, you can add coconut oil to your cat's food. As well as tasting good, the oil has a repellent effect on parasites and strengthens your four-legged friend's immune system. If you take care of your pet's immune system in other ways too, it will be less susceptible to worms. Hygiene in the house and garden should also be a matter of course for you as a cat owner. You should pick up any droppings, as they can otherwise serve as a source of infection for other animals.
Treatment with a worming treatment for cats
If your cat has tested positive for worms at the vet, you should give your cat a worming treatment. AniForte® WermiX for cats can help to harmonize the intestinal flora, especially when administering a chemical worming treatment.
The vital substances it contains, such as saponins, bitter substances and tannins, have been administered since the Middle Ages to support normal intestinal function in our pets.
AniForte® WermiX can therefore be fed before, during and after a worm infestation. For the gourmets among cats, you can make WermiX more palatable with a little coconut oil and thus additionally strengthen the immune system.
However, if your cat is infected with heartworm or lungworm, you will need to ask your vet about other treatment methods.
Common worms in cats
Cats can become infected with a wide variety of worms. In the overview you will find the most common threadworms and flatworms and find out everything about infection, infection route, symptoms and diagnosis.
Cat roundworm (Toxocara cati)
- Most common in cats
- Grows up to 10 cm long and lives in the small intestine
- Its development from the egg takes approx. 4 weeks
Infection: transport hosts (rodents) infected with larvae, direct ingestion of eggs, via mother's milk
Route of infection: the larvae bore their way into the bloodstream, migrate into the lungs, are coughed up and swallowed again. They then shed their skin in the small intestine to become adult worms
Symptoms: usually asymptomatic. In severe infestations: mushy feces, shaggy coat, emaciation, dehydration, growth disorders in young animals, intestinal obstruction, peritonitis
Diagnosis: Fecal examination. In case of very heavy infestation: vomiting of worms or worms in the feces
Canine roundworm (Toxocara canis)
- Lives in the oesophagus, gall bladder, liver or intestines of your cat
- Becomes approx. 5 cm long and has a roundish shape
- Infection: despite the name, cats can also become infected. Infection occurs orally or in kittens while still in the womb
- Route of infection: similar to that of the cat roundworm
- Symptoms: In small kittens, intestinal rupture is possible. Otherwise, in severe cases, fatigue, diarrhea, hives, fever, asthma, coughing, pneumonia, liver damage or neurological symptoms may occur
- Diagnosis: blood count, fecal examination
Hookworm (Ancylostoma tubaeforme)
- Common parasite
- Grows up to 1.5 cm long and lives in the small intestine.
- Infection: transport hosts (rodents) infected with larvae, direct ingestion by the hookworms boring through the skin from the outside
- Symptoms: usually asymptomatic. In more severe cases: diarrhea, emaciation, anemia
- Diagnosis: Fecal examination
- Grows up to 1 cm long and lives in the lungs
- Infection: transport hosts (rodents) infected with larvae
- Route of infection: spread via snails, rodents, amphibians, reptiles and birds that have eaten the snail. Infection of the cat by eating the last host. Larva bores into the bloodstream and migrates to the lungs.
- Symptoms: usually asymptomatic. More severe infestation: disruption of the immune system, respiratory problems. But is considered to be self-healing.
- Diagnosis: Fecal examination, lung lavage sample, lung biopsy
- Very rare
- Grows up to 30 cm long and lives in the heart
- Symptoms: severely impaired general condition, coughing, diarrhea
- Diagnosis: blood smear
- Common parasite
- Grows up to 80 cm long and lives in the anterior small intestine
- Infection: Eggs are ingested by flies, beetles and snails. These are then eaten by rodents, in which a larval stage is formed. The cat ingests these after hunting. In the small intestine, the fin protrudes and the tapeworm sucks itself in. Individual egg-carrying limbs detach and migrate through the anus into the environment (rice grain-like formations). Usually only 2 - 10 worms live in a cat.
- Symptoms: usually asymptomatic. More severe infestation: loss of appetite, emaciation and shaggy coat, itching due to the migrating limbs. You can then observe your cat "sledging" on the carpet, for example.
- Diagnosis: Fecal examination, detection of the limbs.
- Fish tapeworms are a subspecies of tapeworm. They can grow up to 2 meters long. Cats often become infected by eating river fish. This tapeworm mainly damages your cat's mucous membranes.
Your vet can carry out a fecal examination to determine whether worm eggs are already detectable or whether there is just an infection. Not every infection necessarily leads to symptoms. Nevertheless, it is advisable to clarify the situation, as the parasites can also be infectious to humans.
Have a carefree time for you and your cats!