While parasitical infections can have severe consequences in cats, pet owners should not panic completely once they start noticing signs of internal parasites in their pets. Cat parasites are much more common than you may think, with up to 75% of cats suffering from roundworms.
Although adult cats’ lives are rarely in danger, it is still very important to prevent and deal with these situations as fast as possible if you wish to save your cat from very uncomfortable and painful experiences.
If you want to avoid health issues for your cats and other pets, make sure they receive veterinary care whenever you notice odd behaviors from them. Additionally, make sure to take them for a checkup every once in a while to detect issues in their first stages. Health problems such as parasitic infections will worsen over time and create more pain and suffering for your cat.
Keep reading to know what types of parasites exist and how they can affect your cat’s health.
Worms in Cats
Commonly known as parasites or worms in cats, gastrointestinal parasitism refers to two types of parasites that can infect your cat by living in them. They are either wormlike parasites or protozoan organisms.
Wormlike parasites are pretty self-explanatory as they are basically worms that live inside the infected animal’s organs. Protozoan organisms, on the other hand, are one-celled organisms that live in various plants, animals, and even humans.
Your cat will suffer from different symptoms depending on the type of wormlike parasite or one-celled organism living in them.
The most common type of intestinal parasite is the roundworms, especially for kittens. Roundworm infections in a kitten can negatively impact its growth and be the reason for vomiting, poor appetite, digestive issues like constipation, anemia, and even stomach rupture.
Given that they live in cats’ intestines, they eat the food the host consumes to survive. The three to five-inch roundworms reproduce themselves by producing eggs that then exit the body through the cat’s feces. This is how veterinarians are able to determine if roundworms are present in a cat patient. They take stool samples and put them under a microscope; if they find eggs in them, they know that roundworms are present.
Hookworms are smaller than roundworms at about 0.5 to 1 inch in total length. The intestinal parasites stick themselves to the inner wall of a cat’s small intestine to feed on its blood. Because of this, the cat host may suffer from anemia, diarrhea, and weight loss.
While the effect of hookworm infections can be serious, they are relatively easy to detect and treat. Just make sure to keep an eye on your cat’s stool to see if blood is present, and keep it as clean as possible to avoid infections.
Unlike roundworms and hookworms, tapeworms need some type of agent to infect other hosts. The cat would need to consume a host with the internal parasite already inside them. Because of this, house cats are less exposed to infection than outside cats who hunt possible infected animals like rodents.
Adult cats rarely see severe problems from tapeworms, but kittens can stunt their growth and have digestive problems from them.
What Are Some Symptoms of Parasite in Cats
There is a big range of symptoms your cat can suffer from if they have worms in them. One extreme is that your cat is asymptomatic, meaning they don’t have any symptoms at all, and the other can go up to suffering from Pneumonia, seizures, and even sudden death.
While symptoms are different according to the type of parasite infestation and the severity of it, there are quite a few common signs of infection that every cat owner should look out for. They include to:
- Weight loss;
- Loss of appetite;
- Breathing difficulty;
- Worms present in vomit, stool, anus, or area around the anus.
How to Treat Parasite Infections in Cats?
As a rule of thumb, don’t take medication and treatment into your own hands. There are some products that claim to help your cat’s condition, but there is no guarantee they will work.
The best thing you can do for your cat is to take them to a veterinary hospital or an emergency veterinary if the symptoms are severe. There, the veterinarian in charge will prescribe you a form of dewormer; they can be either oral or injectable.
Sometimes you will need to apply multiple doses, while with others, only one injection will kill all the parasites. Regardless, make sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions as closely as possible. They may prescribe a monthly remedy to prevent parasitic infections from reoccurring.
Better Safe Than Sorry When It Comes to Parasites in Cats
Cats don’t show discomfort and pain as other pet animals do; they tend to be quiet about the whole situation. Sometimes small behaviors from cats are our best bet for knowing if they need emergency services or not.
Even if it’s something small that worries you, like “why my cat keeps sneezing?” It’s best to start searching “Emergency pet hospital near me” if you want to avoid possible issues from turning into more severe health problems.
Here at BrightCare Veterinary Group, we are ready to help you and your pet in any way possible. Schedule your appointment here if you wish to check on your cat or dog’s health, or simply visit our 24/7 ER here if you require emergency services.