Even under constant attention and care, domestic cats are exposed to various types of parasites, especially worms. Among cats, the most common types of worms are the solitary (or tapeworm), roundworm and hookworm. For puppies, transmission usually happens from the already sick mother (through milk) or through contact with other puppies. Among the elderly, worms are mostly contracted by ingesting infected feces or by contact with rats or other prey that carry a parasite. As cats catch worms easily, be aware of the symptoms so you can take your pet to the vet and treat it as soon as possible, preventing it from getting worse and eventually developing health problems. Keep reading this article to learn more about detecting the presence of worms in your pussy.
Method 1 of 3: Check the Symptoms
Step 1. Look for changes in the cat's coat
The feline's fur is usually showy and full of shine; if his coat is faded or ungainly, it may indicate the presence of worms.
This can be due to dehydration or poor absorption of nutrients caused by a parasitic infection
Step 2. Check the animal's gums
A healthy cat should have pink gums, just like a human being. If she is pale or white, this could be a sign of anemia, another symptom that can be caused by parasites.
- To examine the cat's gums, place the cat in your lap and gently squeeze the cat's head, just below the ears and jaw. With the other hand, lift his cheeks to expose his teeth and gums.
- If he has pale gums, take him to the vet immediately.
Step 3. Examine the stool
If your cat uses a litter box, examine his feces, looking for the symptoms below:
- Dark or tarry stools may indicate the presence of blood. If this is the case, this is a sign of necatoriasis, a parasitic disease caused by a worm that attaches itself to the walls of the small intestine and can cause bleeding.
- Diarrhea can be a sign that the animal's intestine is infested.
- If you find blood or black mucus in the animal's stool, take it to the veterinarian. The same goes for when an episode of diarrhea persists for more than a day.
Step 4. Look for signs of vomiting
Even though this is common in cats, vomiting frequently can indicate the presence of worms or some other health problem.
Worms cause vomiting by blocking the animal's esophagus or by causing stomach irritation
Step 5. Observe the animal during meals
How does it feed? Does he eat a lot? Little? Be aware that worms and worms tend to alter the cat's appetite (while roundworms increase appetite, other worms and worms can take away the desire to eat, for example).
This is because the presence of worms can cause stomach burning and even infestation in the animal's intestine, which can cause a false feeling of satiety
Step 6. Look for changes in the animal's silhouette
The abdomen of a cat infested with worms tends to become swollen.
A swollen belly can also be a symptom of something else. Even so, this is a sign that the animal needs veterinary attention
Step 7. Look for signs of lethargy
Most parasites steal the nutrients needed by the host's body; therefore, the presence of worms will make the cat very dejected, sleepy and without energy. Pay attention to any dramatic changes in your cat's energy level.
- Beware, this could be a sign of some other serious problem. If the animal is lethargic, take it to the veterinarian.
- There is no one better than yourself to notice a change in your cat's behavior.
Method 2 of 3: Looking for evidence
Step 1. Look for eggs in the animal's feces
Wear disposable plastic gloves and a small piece of wood when examining.
- The tapeworm, also known as solitary, usually leaves its eggs on top of the animal's feces. These eggs look like small pieces of rice and can move around.
- It is unusual to find a whole solitary in the animal's feces, but just in case, the parasite is white, can reach 60 centimeters and has a segmented entire body.
- It is virtually impossible to see roundworm eggs with the naked eye. On the other hand, it is common to find roundworms in the animal's feces or vomit. This parasite is cylindrical, white and about the thickness of a hair. An adult roundworm can reach 6 inches in length.
- The worm Necator americanus (which causes yellowing) also has eggs that are impossible to detect with the naked eye. This worm is very small, measuring between 5 to 9 mm if male and between 9 to 11 mm if female.
Step 2. Examine the cat's anus region
Solitary eggs tend to come out of the rectum and stick directly to the animal's fur. If you find some white things that look like boiled rice grains hanging from the animal's fur, it's a sign that it's lonely.
Step 3. Investigate the cat's bed, as well as the places where it usually stays
If your pet has worms, you may find some eggs where it usually lays down or sleeps.
Method 3 of 3: Asking Questions
Step 1. Schedule an examination at the veterinarian
If you suspect your cat has worms, your veterinarian will order a stool test to check for worms.
- The samples will be taken to a laboratory, where they will be examined under a microscope.
- Describe the symptoms in detail when calling the vet.
Step 2. Collect a stool sample
If the veterinarian has ordered a stool test, collect the sample and store it in the container reserved for it.
- For best results, store container in a dark, cool place. Avoid leaving the container close to food.
- Wash your hands after taking the sample.
- To lessen the chances of a false positive on the test, some veterinarians will ask you to take three samples, each on a different day, from the same container.
Step 3. Take the cat for an exam
In the office, the animal will be examined by the veterinarian, who may ask for another exam to give a more complete diagnosis.
If the presence of worms is found, the veterinarian will prescribe some medicine for the animal
- Be aware that the presence of worms in the cat does not always bring any apparent symptoms. This is quite common, especially when the animal has a roundworm. To avoid future problems, take him to the vet regularly.
- You can reduce the presence of worms by periodically cleaning the litter box. When doing this, use a little bleach (diluted in water in a ratio 1:30) or some detergent.
- Clean the house weekly using a vacuum cleaner to prevent fleas.
- If you suspect or are sure your pet has worms, wash your hands before touching it, clean the litter box immediately, and keep children away from the cat until it receives veterinary attention.
- If the stool test is negative, don't stop there. Some worms lay their eggs inconsistently, so if the test is negative, do it again after a few days to be sure of the result.