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Can Cats Get Tapeworms From Fleas

How To Tell If Your Cat Has Tapeworms

Tapeworms in a Cat

More often than not, cats with tapeworms wont have any signs or symptoms, Nichols explains. The most common clinical signs seen by pet owners are the presence of tapeworm segments in their cats poop or on their cats rear end. She says that in rare cases, tapeworms can cause vomiting, diarrhea, itchiness around the cats backside, and blocked intestines. These signs are more likely if the cat is infested with many worms. Nichols adds that adult cats are more commonly affected by tapeworms than kittens.

Causes Of Tapeworms In Cats

Tapeworms generally need to be ingested by at least two different insects or animals to complete their life cycle. The first is referred to as an intermediate host, and is the primary source of infection to other animals. Different types of tapeworms have different intermediate hosts.

Dipylidium caninum

These worms use fleas to progress to their next stage of life. An infected flea may bite a cat to feed, leaving tapeworm eggs in the bite wound. Once a cat licks or bites at the wound due to itch or as a part of general grooming, the tapeworm eggs may be ingested. As the eggs reach the intestines they hatch and attach to the walls using hook-shaped appendages.

Taenia taeniaeformis

The intermediate hosts of these tapeworms can be many small animals including mice, birds and rodents. As these are common prey of outdoor house cats, tapeworms may easily be spread to cats from these animals. The tapeworms create egg filled cysts on the intermediate hosts liver, which, once ingested, hatch inside the cat.

What Is The Treatment For Tapeworms In Cats

Luckily, treatment for cat tapeworms is pretty easy and effective. If your cat is infested, your vet will give you a tapeworm medicine called a dewormer. Typically, dewormers are oral medications, though they can also be given through an injection.

The deworming medication causes the tapeworm to dissolve in the intestines. Since the worm has been digested, you shouldn’t expect to see evidence of it in the litter box. The deworming medication should not cause your cat any adverse side effects, like vomiting or diarrhea.

The best-case scenario is to keep your cat from getting infected in the first place. You can greatly reduce your cat’s risk of ever getting tapeworms by using flea control treatments regularly and keeping your cat inside. Tapeworms are not contagious, like a cold, per se, but they are transmittable through fleas from animal to animal and in rare cases to humans. Just like your cat, if your dog eats an infected flea while chewing his skin, he can get tapeworms. If you or your child accidentally ingests a flea, you could get tapeworm, too.

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How Likely Is It To Get Worms From Your Dog

The transmission of intestinal parasites from pets to humans, predominantly children, is something weve been aware of for a long while. But until recently, quality information backed by good science was unavailable. Numerically, the odds of you or your children getting worms from your dog or cat are quite low.

How Are Tapeworms Diagnosed

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Most commonly, an owner recognizes that their cat has tapeworms through the observation of proglottids on feces or in vomit, and brings this to the attention of the veterinarian. When segments of the tapeworm break off and pass into the cat’s stool, they can be seen crawling on the surface of the feces. These proglottid segments look like grains of cooked white rice or cucumber seeds. Less commonly, segments are seen moving around the cat’s anus.

You should note that tapeworms are not readily diagnosed with routine fecal examinations. Because of this, you should notify your veterinarian when tapeworm segments are found in your cat’s stool.

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Preventing Tapeworm Infection In Dogs And Cats

Pets who avidly hunt small wildlife such as moles, mice, and rats will become infected with tapeworms regularly. Talk to your vet about a regular tapeworm deworming treatment plan.

Dogs and cats with fleas will likewise become infected with tapeworms regularly. Owners will blame the deworming medication as ineffective when it is likely that their pet has an ongoing flea problem in their home environment. To get rid of the flea tapeworm,Dipylidium caninum, owners must tackle and aggressively control the flea problem in their pets environment which includes both indoors and outside.

If your pets environment has fleas you should prepare to treat the area where your pet lives , your pet, and any other pets you have, aggressively for fleas for at least 3 months to get fleas under control. This can be challenging, especially if pets have a large outdoor space to explore with wildlife contributing to the flea problem.

Expect that you can never completely eliminate fleas due to wildlife and other animals that roam through your pets outdoor environment. However, you want to control the fleas on your pet and in their environment to prevent an infestation. Fleas carry other diseases transmissible to your pets and can cause skin problems such as Flea Allergy Dermatitis or Feline Miliary Dermatitis.

Have you noticed tapeworm segments on your pets fur, under their tail, or in their stool? Contact your primary vet for a tapeworm treatment plan.

What Are The Symptoms Of Tapeworms

Symptoms of tapeworms in cats are notoriously difficult to pin down. At the start of an intestinal parasite infestation when there are only one or two mature tapeworms there really arent any obvious physical reactions that you would notice. The first signs of worms in cats are to be found in their poop, or in the area immediately surrounding the cats anus. These are the proglottids, those egg-filled segments of the tapeworm that it releases as it grows in size and length.

The fresher and more recently the proglottid has broken from the mature tapeworm, the more mobile it is on its own. You may be able to see very small, dull-white to cream-colored segments, resembling nothing quite so much as grains of rice, or cucumber seeds, in the area right around the anus, or they may be visible in recently-excreted cat dung. A cat would have to have quite a large number of mature tapeworms living inside it to exhibit pronounced symptoms. A cat with a substantial tapeworm infestation may start losing weight or tend to vomit more than normal.

It is extremely rare for humans to nuture or develop mature cat tapeworms. How rare? According to the precis for this 2014 research article on tapeworm transmission in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine:

In the past 20 years only 16 cases have been reported in Europe, China, Japan, India, Sudan, Latin America, and the United States.

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Are Tapeworms In Cats Contagious For Humans Or Other Pets

Certain tapeworms can be contagious for humans and other pets. Humans, especially infants, can contract dipylidium caninum if they swallow an infected flea in a household with a tapeworm infestation. Humans can also contract several other species of tapeworm, including echinococcus multilocularis and diphyllobothrium tapeworm species.

Symptoms Of Tapeworm Infection In Dogs And Cats

The Flea Tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum) – Plain and Simple

Dogs and cats with tapeworms usually dont have any noticeable signs or symptoms. High-performance dogs who need every calorie and nutrient to work at their peak performance level may be affected and show a decrease in their ability to perform due to tapeworm infection.

What owners will notice is small tapeworm segments under the tail, around the rectum, and in the feces. Tapeworm segments initially will move, going from long to wide and flat, no bigger than a grain of rice. Once dried, they look like a sesame seed.

The tapeworm seen most often is Dipylidium caninum, earning its reputation as the common tapeworm.

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Indoor Cats Get Fleas From Unkept Human Footwear

As you move from outside to inside, you cant be sure your shoes arent carrying fleas eggs under them.

Parasites may be found nearly anywhere, including on human pathways, and they can stick to your shoes soles.

Even if your cat never leaves the house, family members are likely to come and go on a daily basis.

Because flea eggs may lay dormant for months, theyre easy to discover on clothing and shoes.

You cant completely avoid them when youre outside, but you can decrease the chance of contamination by taking off or cleaning your shoes before going outside or entering your home.

How Is My Cat Dewormed

After your veterinarian has identified and diagnosed your cat with worms, they will have a proper treatment plan according to the type of worms your cat has been diagnosed with. Your cat will be prescribed a dewormer medication that might be a small pill, liquid, injection, or topical medicine to be administered.

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How Does Guinea Worm Affect Dogs

Currently, Guinea worm disease is considered a zoonosis, with dogs being the main reservoir, reaching high rates of infection, thus jeopardizing its eradication. An alternative route of foodborne parasite transmission has been suggested for dogs by means of the ingestion of infected frogs and/or fish.

Indoor Cats Get Fleas From Chasing A Flea Infested Mouse

The Relationship Between Fleas and Tape Worms

Chasing an infected mouse is one of the most common ways indoor cats become infected with fleas.

Mice are rodents that, as a result of their environment and food, carry a range of fleas and diseases.

An indoor cat may easily get fleas by pursuing an infested mouse or other ill animals.

Mice frequently enter our home, and weve witnessed indoor cats chasing mice on a daily basis.

An indoor cat can get fleas by crossing the path or nest of a flea-infested mouse.

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Can Humans Be Harmed By Tapeworms

Certain tapeworms found in dogs or cats may cause serious disease in humans. Fortunately, these tapeworms are uncommon in the United States and are readily treated by prescriptions available from your veterinarian. There are rare reports of Dipylidium infections in children, but these infections are not associated with significant disease.

What Are Cat Tapeworms

Tapeworms are an intestinal parasite found in cats. Inside the body they look like long, ribbon-like worms. However, pet parents usually see evidence of tapeworms as egg packets that look like grains of rice or sesame seeds around a cats anus or in feces.

Most adult cats with tapeworms will show no signs of the parasite, making tapeworms difficult to diagnose.

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Indoor Cats Can Get Fleas After Relocating Into A New Home

Fleas that have been latent for months might be waiting for your cat to come if youre relocating.

Also keep in mind that in shared buildings, the hall carpets or your neighbors flat might be a flea breeding ground. This is also a way indoor cats get parasites.

To keep your cat safe, treat the area as if it were contaminated and try to get rid of any fleas or ticks with at-home remedies.

You may also hire a professional cleaning service or exterminator to assist you.

Fleas and ticks can be found on secondhand carpets, furniture, bedding, and luggage purchased from charity stores or infested houses, so thoroughly clean these items before bringing them into your home.

Why Is Cat Deworming Important

How to Treat Cat Tapeworm

Just the thought of your cat having worms is gross and disconcerting. No one wants their cuddly fur-baby – that sleeps where they sleep – to have worms. Most importantly, deworming your cat is important because of the negative health impact an infestation can have on your cat. Having worms can vary from just being annoying to life-threatening. Kittens and cats that are medically compromised or fragile with age are vulnerable to health issues from worms. They can get anemia or become severely dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea. Kittens can have so many worms that they can not pass them through the GI tract, and that can cause an intestinal blockage, a fatal condition. Infected kittens that are not dewormed can also have their growth and development negatively impacted. Healthy adult cats rarely have significant health issues from having worms, but they are at risk enough to say they need to be dewormed.

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How Do Dogs And Cats Get Tapeworms

The lifecycle of the tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum, includes the primary host which is the dog or cat, and the intermediate host which is the flea. Owners often ask if they can get tapeworms from their pet and the answer is only if they ingest or eat fleas!

When dogs or cats swallow a flea that is carrying a larval tapeworm during normal grooming, the body of the flea is digested away, releasing a tiny tapeworm. This tiny tapeworm then attaches itself to its hosts intestine and grows into an adult or mature tapeworm.

The tapeworm is made up of segments. The segments at the tail end, which is a sac of tapeworm eggs, will drop off to be passed in the stool. These eggs are eventually eaten by the immature flea larva. Once the flea larva becomes an adult flea it can infect its host when the host eats or ingests the flea.

The Taenia type of tapeworm infects dogs and cats when they eat raw meat such as catching and eating mice, rabbits, and other small mammals or when owners feed their pets a raw diet.

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What Kind Of Worms Do Fleas Cause In Cats

The most common tapeworms that infect cats worldwide are Dipylidium caninum and Taenia taeniaeformis. Dipylidium caninum is transmitted to cats by fleas. The immature fleas larvae ingest the eggs of the worm, but infection is then passed on to a cat when it swallows an infected flea during grooming.

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Which Worming Products To Use

There are many different worming products available on the market, and drug availability varies between different countries. While worming products may be available from pet shops and even some supermarkets, these are often old or less effective products and some are even less safe to use in cats.

It is always better to seek the advice of your vet, who will know what types of worms occur commonly where you live, and will be able to recommend the most effective and safest treatments for your cat. Additionally, some treatments are available which may be easier to administer, such as an injection that your vet can give, a tiny tablet that can go in with food, or even some drops that can be applied to the skin.

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Tapeworm Medication For Cats

Fleas &  Ticks &  Worms

Praziquantel is the name of the medicine used to treat tapeworms in cats. It is available from your veterinarian as a prescription injection, topical, or pill.

Make sure to follow all veterinarian instructions, read the directions, and give the appropriate dose for your cats weight. Your veterinarian may recommend treating all pets in the house.

Treatment for tapeworms may need to be repeated 2-4 weeks after the initial treatment to ensure that a cats home environment is completely clear of fleasthe source of tapeworms in cats.

Kittens, pregnant or nursing cats, those with diseases, or cats who are sick should be seen and treated by a veterinarian as their infection may be more severe or a different medicine may be required.

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Can Fleas Cause Worms In Humans

Yes however, the risk of infection with this tapeworm in humans is very low. For a person to become infected with Dipylidium, he or she must accidentally swallow an infected flea. Most reported cases involve children. The most effective way to prevent infections in pets and humans is through flea control.

Common Questions About Tapeworms In Cats

Can people get tapeworms from cats?

A:Although it is uncommon, tapeworms can potentially affect people, too. The way tapeworm infections occur in humans, though, depends on the species.

The flea tapeworm Dipylidium must inhabit a flea to become infective. Therefore, if a human accidently ingests an infected flea, they could ingest a tapeworm. This means that people cannot get a Dipylidium tapeworm infection directly from eggs accidently consumed from their cats stool or from eggs on their fur.

Humans can also be infected with Taenia or Echinococcus tapeworm species if they consume an affected intermediate host, such as a rodent, rabbit or livestock that is contaminated with tapeworm larvae.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Echinococcus is the only tapeworm species that has immediately infective eggs that do not require an intermediate host to cause infections. This means that people can become infected with Echinococcus eggs if they are accidently consumed after passing out of the cat or dogs intestinal tract. Due to this, Echinococcus and Dipylidium tapeworms can more easily affect small children because kids are often less concerned with hygiene than adults.

How serious are tapeworms in cats?

How long does it take to kill tapeworms in cats?

What happens if tapeworms go untreated in cats?

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Is There Anything Else That I Should Do

Flea control is the cornerstone of the management and prevention of tapeworm infection. Flea control products are convenient to use. Depending on the type of product you use and the presence of other pets in your home, you may also need to treat your house and yard for fleas . With some of the newer products, environmental flea control may not be needed. Circumstances vary however, so be sure to talk to your veterinarian.

“Flea control is the cornerstone of preventing tapeworm infection.”

If the cat lives in a flea-infested environment, tapeworm infection can become re-established within a few weeks. This is very rarely due to treatment failure in most cases, reappearance of tapeworm segments represents a re-infection of the cat. Additional recommendations include:

1. Promptly have your cat treated when tapeworms are detected.

2. Remove and dispose of all pet feces properly, especially in public parks, yards, or playgrounds.

3. Teach and practice strict hygiene practices for children after playing outdoors.

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