Worming your cat
Did you know that there are lots of types of worms that cats get.
The most common worms that we see in cats are roundworms and tapeworms. Signs of worms can include vomiting, weight loss, poor coat quality and irritation around the anus. However many cats that are infected with worms will not show symptoms at all.
Tape worms are long flat worms made of of many segments. Cats can get tapeworms from eating fleas infected with tape worms, or from hunting small rodents. Cats with fleas should be assumed to have tapeworms and vice-versa.
Round worms are very common, particularly in kittens. Some roundworms are passed on to kittens from the mothers milk. Roundworm eggs can survive in the environment for long periods of time and infect the cat when ingested. Cats can also contract roundworms by eating rodents.
What worming treatments to use.
There are many worming treatments available from pet shops, supermarkets and vets. However the problem is that often these treatments are ineffective. In our clinics we typically prescribe Milbemax for cats. These worming tablets are very effective against round worms, and tape worms. They are small, palatable and easy to swallow. One small tablet is sufficient for cats weighing up to 8kg (which covers most cats.)
We also use Advocate a flea and worm treatment which is applied to the skin on the back of the neck.
Advocate is a monthly flea and worm control. We typically recommend that Milbemax be given every 3 months, however it is best to seek advice from our vets about your own cats needs.
Pets commonly harbour both Roundworms and Tapeworms. Your pet should be treated regularly, as these worms are a threat to you, your pet and especially your children. Therefore we place more emphasis on the human health aspect when dealing with this issue.
Puppies and kittens are most prone to roundworms. They pass out microscopic eggs, so a stool that is clear does not mean that your pet is free of worms. The most obvious sign with puppies that have worms is a “pot belly” abdomen. Puppies and kittens should be wormed every two weeks initially and then every month until they are six months of age. Remember to allow for weight gain when determining the dosage rate.
Pets over 6 months of age develop a certain level of resistance to roundworms. They should then be wormed with a complete wormer every three months in order to combat all possible types of worms.
We recommend that all pregnant dogs and cats should be wormed 3 weeks before and after giving birth to prevent passing worms onto their offspring. This is the most common way that new-borns pick up worms.
Lungworm is also becoming a bigger problem and is usually passed onto your pet from slugs and snails. Please ensure that the wormer you use is effective against lungworm as clinical signs of infection are often not noticed until it is too late.
Do not hesitate to contact any of our staff or your Vet to answer any queries you might have or to obtain the correct worm dose for your pet.
The lifecycle of Fleas and Tapeworms are closely related and interlinked and should both be controlled together.
Fleas should be prevented by regular use of effective products, especially during the six warmest months of the year if your pet lives outside or all year round if your pet is kept indoors. See our factsheet on Fleas for more details.