Worms in Cats: Intestinal Parasitic Infection

Intestinal parasites, such as helminths and protozoa, are organisms that live in the gastrointestinal tract (gut) of animals and humans.

When a parasite enters a cat and starts living in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract it’s called an intestinal parasitic infection. 

Helminths are worms composed of many cells such as tapeworms, pinworms and roundworms. Protozoa are single-celled organisms such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium that multiply inside the body.

COMMON INTESTINAL PARASITES

  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Tapeworm

WHICH CATS ARE MOST AT RISK OF INTESTINAL PARASITIC INFECTION?

  • Cats in shelters
  • Those with fleas
  • That hunt and eat rodents
  • Ones that eat faeces of infected cats
  • Cats that frequently visit grooming centres
  • In catteries or boarding facilities
  • Frequently exposed to soil where other animals defecate
  • And kittens that don’t receive regular parasite control treatment

SYMPTOMS OF INTESTINAL PARASITIC INFECTION

Some cats don’t show any or only a few signs of infection, which may not even be obvious. In worse cases, symptoms can include:

  • Weakness, anaemia or fever 
  • Confusion & tremors
  • Dull coat
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Dry nose and mouth
  • Weight loss or anorexia
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Watery and/or bloody stool
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
  • Reduced or lack of appetite
  • Reluctant or unable to exercise
  • Inability to control bowel movements

SEVERE DEHYDRATION OR ANAEMIA CAN CAUSE ORGAN FAILURE & DEATH

WHY TREATING INTESTINAL PARASITIC INFECTION IS IMPORTANT

  • Infections weaken the immune system
  • Untreated infections put animals and people at risk
  • Infections can lead to serious (sometimes life-threatening) health problems
  • The effects of an infection can be very painful and cause suffering

WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOUR CAT HAS AN INTESTINAL PARASITIC INFECTION

It’s important to contact your veterinarian as soon as symptoms appear. If intestinal parasitic infection is diagnosed, treatment should start immediately. There are specific treatments for some parasites, so don’t try to treat your pet without a veterinarian’s instructions. There are different deworming medications and some can be harmful if administered incorrectly or unnecessarily.

Related Articles

Untreated Worms In Cats: What happens When Cat Owners Do Nothing? Read Now

Tapeworms in Cats Read Now

Roundworms In Cats Read Now

Worms In Cats: Everything You Need To Know Read Now

How Can I Check If My Cat Has Worms? Read Now

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