Deforestation, poaching and the destruction of the natural habitat of a number of wildlife animal species has caused their extinction or endangered status. Among them are some species of wild cats which include the Bornean bay cat, flat-headed cat, Andean Cat, clouded leopard, marbled cat and black-footed cats to name a few. All these species of cats play an important role in the ecosystem especially in controlling the population of their prey, the most popular of which are rats. If we don’t do something now to save these animals, it might be already too late to save them.
Aside from wild cats, a significant number of house cats are also dying every year due to certain health conditions that are inherent to them. One of these conditions is worm infestation. If you are a pet owner, you ought to learn more about feline worms to save your cat from serious problems or even death.
Most Common Worms in Cats
- Roundworms – This type of worm is perhaps the most common intestinal feline parasite. Roundworms in cats resemble a spaghetti-shape form that could grow up to four inches long. Cats can acquire this worm by nursing through an infected mother or ingesting infected rodents or infected feces of other animals.
- Hookworms – Compared to roundworms, this type of worm is much smaller in size since they only grow up to less than an inch long. They primarily live in the small intestines and feed on blood. Hookworms pose a serious problem among infected cats as they can cause anemia especially among smaller cats. Your cat can possibly get this worm from skin contact with other infected animals including other cats and dogs.
- Tapeworms – This long and segmented parasite can grow up to 28 inches long. Cats can get this worm by ingesting an infected host such as rodents. When present, it causes weight loss and vomiting among infected cats.
- Lungworms – Unlike other types of worms that reside in the intestine, lungworms thrive in the lungs. Infested cats do not normally show symptoms of their presence but some cats develop persistent coughing. Cats normally get lungworms by ingesting an intermediate host such as rodents, snails and slugs.
Symptoms of Worms
Symptoms of worm infestation normally vary depending on the type of worm, but some common symptoms include:
- Diarrhea or bloody stool
- Visible worm in stool or near the anus
- Potbellied abdomen or bloating
- Weight loss
- Breathing difficulty
Treatment for Worms
In case your cat shows symptoms of worms, bring that animal to a veterinarian for diagnosis and proper treatment. Treatment may vary depending on the type of worm. Although there are available over-the-counter dewormers, using them on your cat can be harmful to the animal especially if you are not sure about the type of worm that your pet has. Normally, veterinarians would recommend an oral deworming agent after a diagnosis is made.
Many cat owners are on the watch for serious health conditions in cats such as mange in cats, but take for granted possible worms in cats. Worms too can cause a serious problem among cats and it must also be given proper attention.