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Health Matters: Worms
When you own a pet there always seems to be plenty of things to think about when it comes to their health. Most of these are illnesses or ailments that can crop up at any point in their lives that you cannot prevent for and then you have problems such as worms.
Worms can be a huge issue for any animal and a responsible pet owner will know the importance of regular worm treatment being given to their beloved moggy!
Here is our Health Matters guide to those things that you never want to squirm around in your pet!
What are worms?
Forget those friendly little pink fellows you find in your garden; the type of worms that can infect a cat or dog are completely different. For one thing, they live in the intestine of your pet rather than deep in the ground.
There are around 8 different type of worms that can infect your cat and even more worryingly some of them can even infect people. In small numbers worms are not harmful however it is when they start to reproduce that you can see illness and even death in your pet. Something that no-one wants to happen.
The two most common worm types to be found are roundworms and tapeworms.
Roundworms are possibly most like the common garden worm in appearance; although they are much thinner. Their eggs are passed out in the faeces of a cat and are difficult to pick up by the naked eye.
Most kittens are infected with roundworm when they ingest their mother’s milk. Older cats can be infected by eating infected prey such as mice and birds.
Tapeworms are longer than roundworms. These worms hook into the lining of the cat’s bowel and then grow their long bodies whilst attached. The ends of their body turn into egg sacs and break off; exiting from the cat’s back passage.
These sacs are what is seen in the faeces or the cats bottom and once dried will resemble a grain of rice.
One of the most common ways a cat is infected with tapeworm is via a flea host. When the cat swallows the flea they become infected with the larvae.
How do I know my cat has worms?
The tricky thing about worms is that often you don’t see any symptoms until the infestation is causing issues to your cat’s health.
The most common signs of a roundworm infestation are vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss and lack of energy. In the most severe cases (and particularly in kittens) a swollen tummy is also a sign.
Tapeworms cause increased hunger and also signs of irritation around the back end of your cat including frequent cleaning of that area and dragging the bottom across the floor.
How to treat worms
Part of your regular cat care routine should involve the control of worms within your pet. Thankfully there are a variety of different products on the market that can kill off any worms within your cat and reduce their risk of illness.
It is also important to keep your cat well-groomed and make sure that their litter tray is clear and clean.
Worms can be serious, but they are easily treated and managed which means you can have a healthy happy kitty!