There are several types of parasitic worms in cats. Roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms are important types of intestinal worms in cats that can also infect and cause disease in people. Lungworm, although not a risk to people, can lead to severe, life-threatening respiratory disease in cats. Read on to learn more, including the symptoms of worms in cats and how to protect your cat.
Types of worms in cats
Important types of worms to be aware are:
Roundworms in cats Roundworms are the most common type of intestinal worms in cats. The adult worms are long, spaghetti-like worms that live in the cat’s small intestine. Infestations are particularly common in kittens.
Hookworms in cats Hookworms are smaller than roundworms but can still cause severe disease. The adult worms attach to the intestinal wall and feed on blood with their sharp, biting mouthparts. Severe infestations can be fatal.
Tapeworms in cats The two most important tapeworm species in Australian cats are the flea tapeworm and the cat tapeworm. Flea tapeworm infestations occur when fleas containing flea tapeworm larvae are ingested during grooming. Cat tapeworm infestations occur when cats hunt small animals which act as intermediate hosts.
Lungworms in cats Lungworms can cause significant respiratory disease in cats. The adult worms live in the cat’s lungs. Slugs and snails act as the intermediate host of feline lungworm. Cats get lungworm either by ingesting an infected snail or slug, or by ingesting a rodent, lizard or bird that has eaten an infected snail or slug
What do cat worms look like?
Occasionally, it may be possible to see worms in cat poop (or segments of worms in the case of tapeworms). However, specific tests are usually required to diagnose a worm infestation. For example, your veterinarian may recommend a test to look for microscopic worm eggs in a faecal sample.
Symptoms of worms in cats
Symptoms or signs of worms in cats can vary, depending on the type of worm and the age of the cat.
Signs of intestinal worms in cats may include vomiting, diarrhoea, a pot-bellied appearance, weight loss and anaemia.
Signs of lungworms in cats may include lethargy, depression, weight loss, sneezing, nasal discharge and breathing difficulty.
It is important to know that sometimes there are no obvious symptoms of worms in cats.
Worm treatment for cats
When you’re looking for worm medicine for cats, there are different options available, such as tablets or topical (spot-on) treatments. Worming tablets for cats can be very challenging to administer. NexGard SPECTRA® Spot-On for Cats is an easy to use, topical cat dewormer that is effective against roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and lungworms. Monthly treatment with NexGard SPECTRA® also protects cats against fleas, ticks, mites and heartworm. It can be used in kittens from 8 weeks of age and weighing at least 0.8 kg. There’s no need for multiple products – just one and it’s done!