LIONS FOUNDATION OF CANADA DOG GUIDES
Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides and its founding program, Canine Vision Canada, was established in 1983. It’s the largest school of its kind in Canada with its training school in Oakville and breeding facility in Breslau.
Instructions for Identifying Cat Worms
Importance of Checking for Worms in Cats
Whether cats live indoors or spend time outdoors, they may become host to internal parasites, such as roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. Kittens may pick up worms from the mother in her milk, while adult cats pick up worms by accidentally eating worm eggs or wild animals, such as rodents that are infested with parasitic worms. Because it is relatively easy for a cat to acquire worms, it is a good idea to know the warning signs before the problem becomes unmanageable.
Internal parasites such as worms can be dangerous for a cat’s health, the cat’s human family and other animals. That’s why veterinary intervention is necessary, as soon as possible, for the best outcome.
The presence of worms may be indicated by:
- Actual evidence
- Veterinary examinations and tests
CHECKING FOR SYMPTOMS
Changes in your Cat’s Coat
A cat’s fur is usually shiny; however, if a cat has worms, its coat might become dirty or dull looking. Dehydration or poor absorption of nutrients as a result of parasitic infection can cause the change in a cat’s coat.
Check your Cat’s Gum Health
Firm and pink gums indicate that a cat is healthy. Pale or white gums could mean a cat is anemic.
A common cause of anemia is parasite infection. If the gums are pale, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
To check your cat’s gums gently place your cat on your lap or next to you. Hold the cat’s head gently but firmly before slowly and softly pushing back the upper lip to check the gums above the teeth.
Examine your Cat’s Feces
Cats that have diarrhea more than 24 hours or cats that excrete dark, tarry and/or bloody stool may have worms. Report these findings to your veterinarian.
Pay Attention to Vomiting
Any events of vomiting in a cat should be monitored closely, but frequent vomiting should be especially alarming as it may be a sign of disease or internal parasites.
Note Changes in Appetite
When a cat has a high worm infestation it can lead to several problems that can reduce appetite. Worms take up physical space within the bowel and can make the belly look swollen. Worms can cause stomach ache and inflammation of the bowel lining.
Assess Energy Levels
Without the proper nutrition, kittens and cats lack energy and possibly enthusiasm. Many conditions can cause lethargy so it’s best to visit the veterinarian if your cat is less active, energetic and playful than before.
LOOKING FOR ACTUAL EVIDENCE
- Check for worms or tapeworm segments in feces and vomit: wear disposable gloves; use a stick
- Roundworm eggs are not visible, but you may see adult roundworm that resembles spaghetti
- Hookworm eggs are not visible, and adult worms are very small and difficult to spot
- Tapeworms (flat, off-white worms up to 60 cm in length) have egg packets that look like sesame or cucumber seeds; they may sit on the surface of stool or on the cat’s anus/surrounding fur
- Examine bedding and resting areas for eggs
Schedule an exam at your local veterinary clinic. If a stool sample is required, collect a fecal sample.
While wearing disposable gloves, place the sample in a container and store it somewhere dark and cool. Keep it as far away from food and people as possible and wash your hands after collecting and storing the sample.
The veterinarian will examine your cat and perform fecal tests. It’s also important to communicate any signs or symptoms of worms you’ve noticed. If your cat has worms, the veterinarian will prescribe medication.
It’s usually very easy to treat worms. Once the veterinarian has identified the specific culprit, you can administer the right deworming medication to get rid of that type of worm.
Moving forward, you can consider broad-spectrum medication that can function as both a preventative solution and treatment for various internal parasites.