Cat Treatment and Prevention

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TREATMENT AT THE VET

Unlike dogs, cats tend to play outside less. It is also more dangerous for them to be left behind outdoors because they can get lost and acquire various diseases. However, whether they spend most of their indoors or outdoors, they can still contract parasitic worms.

Fortunately, there are readily available treatments for worm infection in your trusted veterinary clinic. They will do a series of tests to determine what kind of worm is in your cat’s body, such as a blood test, a fecal test, and a physical exam. After identifying the worm, the vet will then administer medications to help eliminate the parasites.

Testing Methods

Fecal Centrifugation

To do fecal centrifugation, the vet will start by putting a small amount of fecal material into a clean test tube. They will mix it with a fecal flotation solution to see if there are existing parasites. It should be conducted at least two times annually, and four times during the first year of your kitten’s life. (Companion Animal Parasite Council, 2018)

Blood Test

A blood test is among the more common types of tests to determine the species of the parasitic worm inside a cat’s body. It is done with an antibody and antigen test. The antibody helps to determine the early stages of the heartworm syndrome, while the antigen test detects mature worms in the later stages of the cat’s life.

Physical Examination

It is necessary to get your cat a physical examination every 6 to 12 months to see if there are complications and underlying problems in your cat’s health. It is also necessary to mention if you notice unusual behavior or possible signs of parasite infestation. Lethargy, vomiting, weight loss, coughing, and asthma attacks are only some of these symptoms.

Intestinal Worms

Intestinal worms are also common in cats, especially those who frequently hunt for rodents. Depending on the kind of parasitic worm and the immunity level of the cat’s body, it can pose different signs and symptoms.

The most common type of worms in cats include roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and hookworms. They are also more likely to develop bilharziasis, a disease caused by these parasites, which can be fatal if left untreated.

Unfortunately, the effects of these parasites can weaken the cat, making it more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. You should get them tested immediately, and the vet will help you find the right anti-worm medications to regulate the infection.

Heartworm

The heartworm treatment for cats is different than it is in dogs. The wrong dosage of medication can cause fatal effects and complications. As of today, there is no approved therapy yet for heartworm infection in cats. Vets usually come up with a long-term infection management plan instead.

Severe parasitic infestation would require hospitalization due to the need for intravenous fluids and drugs to help take care of the heart and the lungs with antibiotics. It is essential to get them placed on heartworm preventatives to limit and prevent the development of a new infection (American Heartworm Society, 1970).

TREATMENT AT HOME

Once the existence and kind of parasitic worms in your cat have been confirmed, you should start to consider the treatment options available at home. A combination of various drugs and chemicals can trigger some allergic reactions. You can try natural and herbal remedies first before opting to purchase deworming medications.

Eradicating Worms

Kittens

Kittens can contract parasitic worms from their mother through nursing. The fertilized worm eggs and larvae can travel to the placenta. They can also pass through the mammary glands where the milk is produced and eventually ingested by the kitten.

It would be best to get kittens at a minimum of 3 weeks old to get treated for worms. This will be done every two weeks only until the age of 3 months. After that, they would only be required to get treatment once a month until 6 months old. Once the kitten has reached 6 months, they will then be given an adult treatment regimen (Valley Vet).

Cats

Mature cats must get treated for worms every 1 to 3 months. The medications prescribed by vets are tested and proven effective to help eliminate the specific type of worm that has infected your cat. The medicines can come in different forms, such as liquid, granules, pastes, and tablets. It is up to you to choose which one suits your pet best.

Most of the time, these medications require a vet prescription before you can buy one, but there are also similar medications available in online stores. 

Herbal Treatments

Herbal treatments are proven effective over time. The natural chemicals in these remedies provide many benefits and healing effects to the concerned patient. It is also much easier to search the internet nowadays for the ingredients and necessary processes to create home remedies for worms

These are only some of the most trusted natural treatments for eliminating parasitic worms.

Raw Pumpkin Seed

To use pumpkin seeds, rinse them before crushing. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the seeds until they reach a powdery texture. Add one teaspoon full of this powder to your cat’s wet food and mix them well. Do this for at least 21 days for the best results.

Parsley Water

After boiling the water, add parsley and let it simmer for 3 more minutes. Cool the water and strain it to remove the bits of parsley. To consume, add half of a tablespoon of parsley water into the drinking water of your cat. Do this for 10 days. 

Fresh Papaya

Wash the papaya and chop it into small pieces. Add half of a teaspoon of papaya in your cat’s wet food continuously for 2 weeks. 

Turmeric

For every 1 to 10lbs of the cat’s weight, add 1/8th of a teaspoon into their wet food. Do this for at least 10 days, and make sure to stir the mixture well.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

To use grapefruit, grind one jar of grapefruit seed using a mortar and pestle until it turns into a powder. Add 8mg of the powder for every 2.2lbs of the cat. Do this once per day for 2 weeks. 

Prevention banner_FINAL

Prevention is always better instead of waiting for the infection to happen first before taking action. Parasitic worm infection is often a chronic complication and can damage the healthy organs of an affected cat. To avoid contracting these worms, there are some things that you can do to provide a safe environment for your feline friends!

Cleaning the Litterbox

Even if you scoop the litter box daily to free it from stools, there will still be tiny fecal materials left behind on the sand. It is important to change it weekly and clean the box with a diluted solution of bleach and water to kill the existing worm eggs.

To make the solution, mix one part of bleach with 32 parts of water. This will prevent the development of parasites on the surface while still being pet-friendly. Be sure to wash your hands first after handling stools before touching or petting your cat.

Flea Prevention

Fleas are known carriers of many diseases, infections, and bacteria. When a cat accidentally swallows one, the larvae in that flea can enter the body and multiply undetected. To avoid this from happening, vacuum the floors more frequently. Also, you should wash the pet bedding at least once a week with hot water to keep it clean and sanitized.

You can also give your cat some flea preventive medications.

Indoor Cats

Even if you always keep your cat indoors, they can contract worms. Parasites are present everywhere, and there is little to no way that you can detect where they are sitting. Also, when the windows are always open, some of the insects like fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks can enter the house and give your cat fertilized eggs of the parasitic worms. 

If you have dogs in the house, they can also transfer the worms to the cats. When they are exposed to contaminated materials, clothing, and other animals, cats are most likely to get the infection.

Barn & Outdoor Cats

Outdoor cats are very useful in the regulation of the rodent population in the area. However, these small animals can also carry parasitic worms, and they can pass them to the cat when they are eaten by them. Some parasites help the cat be healthy and resistant to diseases, but it is still better to get them de-wormed if they spend most of their time outdoors.

There are also available medications in liquid form to be applied on the cat’s neck as a preventive measure.

Good Everyday Practices

Disinfect

Non-Porous Items

Be sure to clean your cat’s food and water bowls regularly. You can use a disinfectant that is safe for animals to get rid of worms and other microorganisms on the surface. You can also use a diluted bleach solution on the toys and other objects in the house.

Cat Beds & Fabrics

It is necessary to wash the cat’s bedding and blankets in hot water to kill the bacteria and viruses. Keeping them clean will secure the safety of the felines from parasitic infections.

Flooring

It would be best to sweep and vacuum as much as you can daily to remove the worms and eggs on the floor if there are any. You can also use a clean mop and soapy water to sanitize the area.

Outdoors

Make sure to dispose of the feces away from your yard before letting your cat play outdoors. Avoid using them as a fertilizer because they can contaminate the plants and the soil nearby your house. Using a mixture of salt brine, borax, or diluted bleach, you can eliminate most of the larvae and eggs on the pavements, tiles, and concrete.

However, be aware that some of these household chemicals can kill plants and grass

Regular Vet Visits

It is essential to keep up with the routine visits to the vets because they can help you determine if there is an early stage of infection. They can immediately give you the medications you will need for deworming. The quicker the worms are detected, the faster and easier they can be eliminated out of your cat’s body.

Even if you are only suspecting an infection, it would be best to consult a veterinarian right away for confirmation.

TOP 5 FAQ

Is there a natural treatment for lungworm in cats?

According to EHome Remedies, there are several home remedies that you can use to deworm your cat. These include parsley water, pumpkin seeds, turmeric, papaya, and grapefruit seeds. 

How do roundworms affect cats?

Cats that are infected with roundworms can appear pot-bellied. They will also experience frequent abdominal discomfort, weakened appetite, poor coat, diarrhea, vomiting, and poor growth.

Can heartworm be cured?

As of today, there is no known cure yet for heartworm in cats. Instead, most vets offer long-term management to help regulate the situation and prevent these parasites from damaging the heart and lungs. In some cases, it can also require hospitalization and surgery.

Can tapeworms be passed from cat to human?

Tapeworms do not usually infect humans as cats and dogs are their primary host. However, it is still essential to practice good hygiene to prevent the spreading of these parasites between animals.

How do you treat hookworms in adult cats?

Vets administer appropriate medications for adult cats to keep them safe from the effects of hookworms. It can come in a different form depending on the preference of the cat and the owner. 

OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can roundworm eggs live in carpet, clothing, or hard surfaces?

Roundworm eggs and larvae can sit anywhere, so the best action to avoid them is frequent disinfection and cleaning every surface. You can use pet-safe cleaners and bleach mixtures to kill the parasites and other bacteria that may cause various diseases. 

Where can I get heartworm medication?

By consulting with your trusted veterinarian, you can get a prescription for reputable heartworm treatment. You can also mention if your cat has allergies and complications to find the best treatment for your pet.