Helminth infections can occur even if a cat never leaves the house. Without treatment, these infections can lead to severe consequences or even death.
Dangers of Worms
Worms in cats are parasitic worms that typically enter the stomach as larvae. They can be found in soil, water, grass, raw meat products, unwashed food, and even on clothing. In fifty percent of cases, helminth infections are asymptomatic, but the cat remains a carrier, posing a risk to other animals. Regular preventive treatment is essential.
Methods of Infection
Cats commonly contract worm infections through:
Nursing from an infected mother
Eating an infected rodent
Licking contaminated clothing or shoes
Contact with infected pets
Ingesting insects carrying larvae
Consuming raw fish or meat
Symptoms may vary depending on the type of worm but generally include:
Changes in appetite
Weight loss
Bloated belly
Diarrhea, potentially with blood clots
Bowel problems
Coat issues
Rashes around the anus
Eye discharge or filmy eyes
Apathy or lethargy
As the infection progresses, cats may also exhibit:
Severe weakness
Pale oral mucous membranes
Low blood pressure
Unexplained dehydration
Regular preventive diagnostics are recommended, as worm segments are not always present in feces, and symptoms may only appear in advanced cases. Diagnostic methods include:
Visual inspection of the pet
Fecal analysis
Laboratory blood tests
A veterinarian should prescribe treatment, as different types of worms require specific medications. If the cat also has fleas, they should be treated first, as they can carry parasite larvae. Worm medications are typically available as tablets, suspensions, drops, and occasionally injections for in-clinic treatment. Use only the medication prescribed by the veterinarian.
Effective prevention involves regular check-ups, anti-worm medications, and avoiding contact with stray animals. Additionally, follow these sanitary measures:
Perform weekly cleaning with disinfectants
Store shoes out of the cat’s reach
Regularly clean food and water bowls
Exclude raw meat and fish from the cat’s diet
Conduct timely anti-parasitic treatments
Disinfect pet items, wash bedding, and clean toys
Risk of Infection for Humans
Worms can be transmitted from a cat to a human through:
Contact with the cat or its belongings
Cleaning up feces and washing litter trays
Contact with soil or sand where the cat has defecated
Always wash your hands after any contact with a cat or its belongings.
Worms pose a serious danger to cats and humans, especially due to the long asymptomatic period. Regular prevention is crucial for protecting both the cat and its owner. Remember, prevention is always better than treatment.