Signs Your Cat Has Worms
The thought that your cat might have worms is very off-putting, but this is actually one of the most common reasons for pets to visit the vet. Of course, this doesn’t mean worms and other parasites aren’t serious—in fact, major complications could develop if left unchecked. That’s why you should learn the signs your cat has worms and take the appropriate action.
Why Are Worms in Cats Dangerous?
The most common intestinal worms in cats include roundworms and tapeworms. These are present in many animals’ digestive systems. As long as they live in small numbers, they are quite harmless.
However, if the parasites grow too numerous, these freeloaders start to cause health problems for their host. Kittens may experience stunted growth as the worms in their intestines steal vital nutrients. Malnutrition, dehydration, and anemia—a shortage of red blood cells that may cause fatigue, dizziness, and a fast heart rate—are also possible when parasites attach to the intestinal wall and start feeding off your cat’s blood.
Signs Your Cat Might Have Worms
Intestinal parasites are most common in outdoor cats and kittens that grew up in unsanitary conditions. They are rarely found in indoor cats. However, regardless of your pet’s living situation, you should keep an eye out for these signs your cat has worms:
- Vomiting and diarrhea: Whether caused by worms or another problem, these symptoms are a sign of digestive distress and warrant a trip to the vet.
- Mucus or worm segments in your pet’s stool: The intestines often secrete mucus as a defense mechanism against a parasitic invasion, making your pet’s stool slimy. Tapeworm segments may also break apart and end up in your pet’s stool.
- Lethargy and fatigue: These are possible symptoms of anemia and malnutrition.
- Dry skin and dull coat: The skin and fur are the first to suffer from nutritional deficiencies if your cat has worms.
- Odd appetite: Watch for sudden hunger caused by malnutrition; refusal to eat or drink because of an upset stomach; and rapid weight loss despite eating normally.
- Potbelly: Kittens, in particular, may develop a potbelly in response to intestinal parasites.
How Worms in Cats Are Diagnosed & Treated
Before your cat can receive treatment for worms, a stool test must be performed so the vet knows which dewormer to prescribe. Expect the process to take a few days. Then, a follow-up visit three to four weeks later confirms that all worms have been eliminated from your pet’s system. To prevent another episode, consider keeping your cat indoors or start using preventative wormer medication.
Receive Treatment for Worms at Village Vet of Urbana
The best way to treat worms effectively is to bring your cat to Village Vet of Urbana if you see any signs that parasites are living in the animal’s intestines. Of course, it’s critical to remember that some worms produce no symptoms, meaning they can go undetected for months or even years without routine screenings. This makes annual wellness visits an important part of your pet’s preventative healthcare plan.
For any questions about your cat’s health, or to schedule a visit with our experienced vets in Frederick County, please contact us today.