For pet lovers, there is nothing as frustrating as seeing your cat deal with an illness that you could have prevented. But the sad news is that lots of pet owners deal with this yearly when their pet gets tapeworms.
While it is easy to ignore how much harm a little work can cause, don’t be fooled by its size and name. These tiny parasites can cause your cat a lot of issues.
The great news is that you can prevent these diseases. What is more, these can be treated with ease if an infection does happen. There are lots of natural remedies as well so you won’t have to depend on harsh drugs to get these annoying felines off your cat.
In this article, we will be taking a look at all you need to know about tapeworms and How to get rid of tapeworms in your cats.
But before moving further, let us take a look at what Tapeworm is.
What is Tapeworm?
Imagine a lengthy flatworm with numerous segments similar to a string of pearls. That is what a tapeworm looks like. They have no mouths. But they do take in nutrients via their skin.
The instant a tapeworm gets into your cat, they never want to leave. On the end of their head, they have small devices that seem like hooks which they attach unto the small intestine wall. If you do not treat this condition, these parasites can survive inside your cat for many years.
While they first get into your cat as larvae, they can get as long as 10 to 18 inches in length the instant they hatch and grow into maturity. However, they can be as long as almost 30 inches and above and be as short as 4 inches.
Considering that a healthy adult cat can have a small intestine which is 60 inches in length, it proves how huge an issue tapeworms can become. For this reason, engaging in treatment once you see these parasites is crucial.
Symptoms of a Tapeworm Infestation
Typically, you will be able to tell if there are tapeworms in your cat by observing its feces closely. They are similar to rice grains and might even move a bit. These small white specs are the tail end of a tapeworm which falls off and merges with the feces. They can also get wedged on in the hair around the anus of your cat or any other part of its body.
Although aspects of a tapeworm break off frequently, it does not imply that the tapeworm is leaving the body of the host. If the head of the tapeworm does not get detached, then the parasite will keep growing.
Other warning symptoms that your cat has a tapeworm infestation consists of vomiting and diarrhea. You may observe your cat scratching or lick at its anus excessively. You may also view it dragging its anus across the flow. This is a clear sign that your cat is not comfortable.
How do Tapeworms affect the Health of your Cat?
While it may not be seen as a severe health issue, tapeworms can stay around for an extended period inside your feline. Also, similar to most parasites, it may lead to weight loss in your cat or your cat becoming weaker. This is because tapeworms draw nutrients from the body of your cat.
Also, as we earlier stated, tapeworms can result in your cat physically itchy and uncomfortable in all the inappropriate areas.
Types of Tapeworm
There are two kinds of tapeworm, which is our focus in this article goes by the scientific name of dipylidium caninum, as explained by the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The other kind which is not as popular but deadlier is known as
As stated by the CDC, CE or cystic echinococcosis is as a result of an infection with the tapeworm’s larvae stage known as hydatid work which you can find in pigs, cattle, dogs, sheep, and goats.
According to a report from the CDC, CE results in slowly, harmful cysts in the lungs, liver alongside other organs which often grow without you noticing it and ignored for years.
- Another kind of tapeworm is the Echinococcus multilocularis and can result in a disease known as AE or Alverolar echinococcosis.
You can find this tapeworm in cats, foxes, small rodents and coyotes.
Human cases are not common but very deadly. They cause parasitic tumors that can grow in the brain, lungs, liver alongside other organs. AE can be dangerous without treatment,
Other kinds of Worms in Cats
Although the most common types of worms in cats are tapeworms, there are a host of others that can infest your cats. They include:
Asides from tapeworms, these are the next common you can find in cats.
Kittens attain roundworms from the milk of an infected mother. Adult cats will get infested if they consume an infected rodent.
Although these are commonly found in dogs, cats are also able to get hookworms. They are little, and similar to tapeworms resides in the small intestine of an animal. Hookworms survive on the blood of an animal which can lead to anemia.
Animals can get infected with hookworms through skin contact or ingestion.
- Non-intestinal worms
Heartworms, eye worms, and lungworms are other kinds of worms that live in areas of the body asides from the gastrointestinal tract.
How Do Felines Get Tapeworms?
There are lots of ways your pet can get a tapeworm infestation. Below are a few of the most common methods:
You may believe that there are no fleas in your residence, but getting in contact with these little pests on a daily basis is quite easy.
Grooming shops, boarding kennels, veterinary hospitals as well as pet stores are great gatherings for fleas which may spread from one host animal to another.
Your cat may even risk getting exposed to fleas by heading outdoors. This is especially the case if you live in a woody environment and your cat heads outdoors a lot.
Tapeworms, similar to other parasites, need not less than 2 animal hosts to stay alive. The initial host which is usually the common flea will consist of tapeworm larvae.
The instant the infected flea gets ingested by the next host like your cat, the larvae will head to the small intestine of the animal, attach itself and start developing.
For cats, they usually get infected by tapeworms after they ingest a flea accidentally while grooming or after consuming a rodent-infested by a tapeworm.
How to Treat a Tapeworm Infestation
It can be a troubling discovery if you find out that your cat has a tapeworm infestation. You will want to take all the measures you can quickly to help your cat.
Before you start any treatments that have to do with de-worming, it is essential you take your cat to the vet for a proper diagnosis. The vet will request that you provide a sample of your cat’s feces, so be sure you have an extra container around that you would not mind disposing of.
Once the vet has confirmed a definite diagnosis, your vet can begin to speak with you about options for treatment.
Commercial Treatment Options
Your vet will probably suggest options for commercial treatments for the tapeworm infestation your cat is experiencing. This often consists of a range of oral medications or injection that aid in killing the tapeworms.
These medications are not believed to be very effective. But lots of medications need various doses for peak efficiency. It is common for an infestation to reoccur.
This means the cost of treatment can start adding up quickly.
How to Prevent Tapeworm infestation
Because tapeworms flourish in fleas, a regular flee-prevention routine is essential to ensuring your cat is free of tapeworm. If there are flees, tapeworms are bound to come back. With a range of treatment products available for the treatment of tapeworm, all you need to do is to select the one that is best for your situation.
Your vet can aid you in deciding what will work appropriately for your cat, and recommend if your entire yard and home require treatment for fleas or only your cat.
It is also crucial that you keep your living space clean. Promptly and safely get rid of a spoiled litter and ensure you check out it is bedding for fleas. If your cat heads outdoors to hunt, try restricting it indoors to stop it from ingesting rodents that will continuously bring tapeworms into your home. You can head to the vet to check the stool of your cat every year for tapeworms.
How can you naturally get rid of tapeworms in cats?
Asides from the fact that they do not come cheap and are sometimes not effective, commercial medications may hamper the natural gut health of your cat. This can impede the capacity of your cat to take in nutrients and can result in natural deficiencies.
This is why home remedies for tapeworm are more common. Some of these remedies include:
These are very anti-parasitic and filled with healthy minerals and vitamins. These seeds can kill adult tapeworms and larvae.
To utilize this remedy, utilize around one teaspoon of completely crushed pumpkin seeds into the meal of your cat for no lower than three weeks. Other natural meals consist of papaya and turmeric.
Drink a tea made at home via the leaves of this herd and provide your cat with a natural and calm diuretic. It is full of nutrients and antioxidants and also aids in normalizing the digestive system.
All you need to do is boil some fresh parsley in water, strain it and let it cool. Add ½ tsp of the tea when it is cold into the water dish of your cat for 10 days.
Tips for preventing Tapeworm in Cats
Another core tip of how to eradicate tapeworms in cats naturally is by ensuring they don’t get infected by tapeworm in the first place.
It is always ideal to minimize the exposure of your cat to critters. This is the case especially if you have previously treated your cat for tapeworms.
Below are a few tips;
- Provide your cat with frequent tick and flea preventive medication all year
- Minimize how your cats get in contact with other critters by utilizing traps, sprays alongside other methods around your yard and home
- Frequently clean the litter box of your cat
The truth is, if you own a cat, you should know how to spot a tapeworm infestation. Be ready to take action by reaching out to your vet and beginning treatment as quickly as you can.
- Consider trying out some home remedies for treating tapeworms in your cat as well. They may aid in saving you some cost and offering your cat with a calmer treatment.
- Lastly, also note that you can find tapeworms in dogs, so if you own one or you know people who love dogs, then remain observant and do what you can to promote an environment which is clean and critter free.
Tapeworms are not parasites to joke with as they can lead to long term discomfort and damage in your cat. If you notice this parasite has infected your cat, the tips above will go a long way to helping you get rid of them in your cat.