How Do I Get Rid of Roundworms in My Cat?

Here at Pet Health Central, if there is one thing that we don’t like, it is parasites. Okay, that’s actually a lot of “things” we don’t like, as parasites include all the heavy hitters in the field: fleas, ticks, chewing lice and intestinal parasites, like roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms. They all pose a threat to your beloved pet friends and, in many cases, they can pose a threat to you, too!

Among the nasty parasites that infect cats are roundworms. In 2014, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, one out of every 22 cats in the U.S. tested positive for roundworms. (So far, in 2015, that statistic is one in 19 cats.) Some parts of the country are more “infested” than others, which you can see with the CAPC’s handy-dandy interactive map.

There are three main species of roundworms that can affect your cat: Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina and Toxocara cati. Two of those nasty worms are particularly concerning because Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati can and will infect people.

Toxascaris leonina and T. cati can both be contracted by your cat ingesting eggs from an infected area, or by eating rodents that carry the parasite. In addition, T. cati can be transmitted by a mother cat to her nursing kittens.

Your veterinarian is your best source for diagnosing a roundworm infection in your cat or kittens, but common signs and symptoms include a dull, lackluster coat and a “potbelly,” diarrhea; or, in kittens, lack of growth. Infected animals may pass roundworms in the feces or may vomit them up. A fecal sample examined by your veterinarian can confirm the presence of roundworm eggs in your cat.

Because of a complex life cycle, animals infected with Toxocara cati need to be treated more than once as deworming agents (anthelmintics) will not kill the worms that are in a migratory state (from the intestinal wall to the bloodstream, then on to the lungs, where they are coughed up and re-swallowed. Trust me when I say there are no Disney movies starring roundworms.)

Because cats can pick up eggs from the environment, it’s also critical that you scoop your cat’s litter box daily and properly dispose of the feces. Litter boxes and contaminated surfaces can be cleaned with a bleach/water compound (one cup chlorine bleach with one gallon water) and rinsed thoroughly. It is critical to make sure that fecal matter from yards, sandboxes and children’s play areas are removed promptly. Once an area is infected with roundworm eggs, only exposure to direct sunlight or very dry conditions will kill them.

Obviously, you want your cat and/or kittens to be healthy and to stay healthy. One way is to treat your cat with a liquid wormer. This fish-flavor liquid is for kittens and cats 6 weeks of age and older.

Before using this product, please read and follow label directions. It is important to weigh your cat before dosing; and it is also critical to weigh your cat or kitten before dosing.

With guidance from your vet and a safe, effective wormer, you can keep your feline family happy and healthy!

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