Worms In Cats
Some people know everything about cats, others know very little. However, one issue that everybody seems to understand about our feline friends is their addiction to exploring and how they simply love the outdoors. Unfortunately, this has its consequences and as experts have discovered, cats can develop many medical problems due to their exposure to the outside. One of the most common issues is worms and with this condition being transferred via very common sources such as fleas and stool from other cats, it’s a problem that every cat owner should take seriously.
Firstly, we’ll start with a basic summary over what worms are. They can be described as internal parasites and once they arrive in the cat’s stomach, serious problems can begin. The worms will feed on any food that the cat eats and from then on, the problems will depend on what type of worm the cat has. To compound matters further, eggs are laid and this means that more and more of the parasites are created and the problem worsens significantly.
To make the issue more complicated to understand, there is not just one type of worm but several. There are four types that we will look at, with the first being roundworms. This type is almost never found in fully grown cats due to an immunity that develops within them. Unlike other types of worm, the roundworm does not attach themselves to the intestines and instead roam around the gut area. Roundworms are one of the most common types of warm and while in general they are not seen as a serious problem, if left untreated they could result in serious consequences.
Another type is the hookworm. This is a particularly complicated worm to describe as there are in fact four types; each with their own distinct medical name. Some of these species are actually classed as dog hookworms, yet cats can still become infected with these. The function of the worm is quite easy to remember as it literally hooks itself on the intestine of the cat, sucking blood in the process. Obviously, this can result in serious implications and if a cat is seen to be suffering blood loss through indigestion or regular bleeding around the bowel, they could be infected by this type of worm.
The tapeworm is another type and unlike the others, this is generally transmitted through fleas. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find symptoms for this type of worm although small grains around the cat’s anus can sometimes suggest that tapeworm eggs have passed through. While it can be quite easy for a cat to catch tapeworms, the good news is that they are not too dangerous. They do draw nutrients from the cat, but unless this is done on a large scale it is not unsafe and simple treatment should be able to resolve the issue.
One of the rarer types of worm is the heartworm. Contracted through mosquito bites, heartworm is not common in cats as felines have a resistance against them. However, there have been cases where this resistance has failed and if that occurs, the heartworm aims to attack the heart. For this reason the heartworm is seen as a rare, but highly dangerous type of worm that can cause serious respiratory problems or even death.
The symptoms for worms in cats vary depending on the type of worm that the cat has been infected with. Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that some cats will show no signs of symptoms and for this reason it is absolutely critical that cats are regularly checked for this condition by a veterinarian. If there are signs however, these are likely to include vomiting, weight loss, weight gain, abnormal stools and sometimes bleeding. Of course, these symptoms could cover many other issues but with worms being so common, there is a high likelihood that this is the reason behind the above.
While it could be tempting to purchase an over-the-counter medication to try and solve the issue, a visit to the veterinarian is most definitely the recommended option. Due to the complex nature of worms and their different species, each case is different and a vet clinic should be able to establish the exact cause and prescribe the perfect medication in the process. What’s more, when a cat becomes infested with worms they lose some of their nutrients and this is something else that has to be considered when selecting the correct treatment. The procedure of removing the worms from the animal is called “deworming”, in vet medicine circles.
In conclusion, it’s clear to see that worms are a common problem amongst cats but usually not a serious one. Unfortunately, there are no prevention methods but there are more than sufficient treatment means on the market to help address the problem. While over-the-counter medication is generally not recommended for the more serious cases of worms, cat owners should probably look to “maintain” worms themselves and purchase treatment to do this every three months or so. If these guidelines are followed, worms are unlikely to play a big part in a cat’s life.
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