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How To Tell If Your Cat Has Tapeworms

Diagnosing Tapeworms In Cats

How to Tell If Your Cat Has WORMS – Top Signs!

Veterinarians diagnose tapeworms in cats through a fecal examination. A diagnosis can be made once evidence of tapeworms, either in the form of eggs or proglottids, is discovered in the feces. Veterinarians then diagnose the type of tapeworm through a microscopic examination or a diagnostic PCR test. Diagnosing the type of tapeworm is essential for proper treatment and management, as treating environmental factors may be necessary to prevent reinfection.

Tapeworms shed proglottids intermittently, which means that your veterinarian may not be able to accurately diagnose your cats condition right away, as there may be no physical evidence of tapeworms in your cats feces. If you notice any abnormalities that you suspect could be proglottids in your cats litter box, be sure to collect the sample in a plastic bag so that your veterinarian can inspect it.

Effective Ways: How To Get Rid Of Tapeworms In Cats

A sick pet is the absolute treacherous pain any cat owner can go through. Everything is done to make them feel better, but theyre still ill.

Tapeworms are the worst illnesses for cats to contract. These tiny microscopic worms cause a lot of harm in your cats insides. A tapeworms main job is to lodge themselves onto the walls of the cats intestine and stay there as far as they wish, even years!

That gives just Goosebumps. Surely there has to be a hint or way to prevent these creatures from impacting our pets intestines and worsening their health. Lucky for you, this article has six different useful ideas on how to get rid of tapeworms in cats.

Are There Home Remedies For Tapeworms In Cats

There are no home remedies for tapeworms in cats. Prevention, however, is the best course of action.

Whether your cat has had tapeworms or you want to avoid your cat getting them, the best way to prevent tapeworms in cats is by giving your cat flea and tick medicine.

Your veterinarian can recommend a flea and tick prevention medication to help keep your cat healthy and tapeworm free.

For more information on cat health and care from our experts, visit our Pet Expertise page.

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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?

Read more:

How To Check Cats For Worms

Cat Treatment for Tapeworms

Last Updated: November 5, 2020ReferencesApproved

This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 43 testimonials and 94% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,305,734 times.

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Clean Your Cats Litter

Its not the most pleasant of all chores, but someone needs to get it done. The litter box contains a multitude of germs and risks of tapeworms. Dispose of all those soiled litter quickly and regularly. Your cat will well appreciate you for giving their litter box a needed scrub. Its not just home to parasites, but it can get pretty sticky.

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Can A Cat Reappear With A 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.

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From Hunting And Scavenging

Rodents, rabbits, birds and even insects eat parasite eggs. However, these animals are known as secondary or intermediate hosts because the eggs do not develop into adults once ingested, but instead remain dormant. When a cat consumes all or part of these animals while hunting or scavenging, the dormant parasite wakes up and grows into an adult worm in the cats intestines.

A Guide To Tapeworm Medication For Cats

Does Your Cat Have WORMS?! – HOW to Tell and WHAT to Do!

This guide will better inform you on tapeworm medication for cats. Tapeworms, also called cestodes, are internal parasites that attach themselves to the wall of your cats intestines. Dipylidium is the most common tapeworm of cats and is spread by fleas. Taenia and Echinococcusare less common tapeworms and are spread by ingesting the host that is carrying the tapeworm. These medications are beneficial in the elimination of tapeworms.

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How Do Cats Contract Tapeworms

While tapeworms in cats are a common problem, not many owners know how cats get them. Tapeworms are often contracted when a cat accidentally eats tapeworm larvae. Many types of tapeworm larvae are found in fleas if a flea is ingested, the tapeworm larvae begins to grow when inside your cat.

This is not, however, the only way your furry friend can contract tapeworms. Some cats eat the faeces of infected cats, which can pass on the parasite. It is also possible for mothers to pass on tapeworms to their young.

What Do Worms Look Like

Roundworms are the most common parasites in cats. They look a little like spaghetti and are around three to six inches long.

Hookworms are much smaller than roundworms in length and reside primarily in the small intestine. They feed on animal blood and can cause life-threatening anaemia, especially in kittens. Their eggs are passed in the stool and then hatch into larvae.

Tapeworms live in the small intestine of cats and are long and flat some are as long as 30 inches! They are a white/cream colour and have a ribbon like appearance.

Another type of worm is a lungworm, although these reside in cats lungs. Cats who get an infestation often develop a cough.

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Are Certain Cats More Likely To Get Tapeworms

Fleas are the intermediate host for tapeworm. In other words, the tapeworm is unable to complete its life cycle without the presence of fleas in the environment. Regardless of whether the owner has seen fleas on the cat, or in the home, the cat must have ingested a flea in order to have tapeworms.

“Fleas are the intermediate host for the tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum.”

Consequently, tapeworms are more common in environments that are heavily infested with fleas. It is recommended to treat your cat for fleas if tapeworms are noted, and use flea control to prevent future flea infestations and tapeworm infections.

How To Tell If Your Cat Has Tapeworms

How Can I Tell If My Kitten Has Worms

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.

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Is There A Cure For Tapeworms

Yes. Tapeworms in cats can be cured with deworming medications like epsiprantel, praziquantel, and fenbendazole. While these medications will eliminate tapeworms from your cats intestinal tract, they do not guarantee protection from reinfection, which is why its important to treat any underlying cause, such as a flea infestation, and follow good hygiene practices when cleaning the litter box.

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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How Do These Worms Affect My Cat

Worms do not cause your animal to eat ravenously, and are most unlikely to be a cause of weight loss in adult cats. Roundworms are most likely to cause symptoms in kittens in their first 12 months of life and severity of signs reflects the degree of worm burden and age of the animal.

Characteristic signs of an infestation include a pot-belly, stunted growth or weight loss and gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhoea. Heavy burdens of migrating worm larvae in young kittens may be associated with liver or lung disease, and heavy burdens of adult worms in the gut can cause intestinal blockage. Sometimes deaths will occur.

Tapeworms have not generally been associated with specific clinical signs in the infected cat or dog, but the segments leaving the anus may cause irritation which you will observe as the affected animal licking or scooting its bottom along the ground.

If your cat is passing tapeworm segments there will also be some degree of flea infestation in the environment

Treating Tapeworms In Cats

Cat Health & Care : How to Treat Cat Tapeworm

Treating your cat for tapeworms is a fairly simple and easy process. First you must take them to your vet for a diagnosis. When they are sure your cat has tapeworms, they will be able to provide suitable medication.

Both types of treatment are simple and extremely effective, especially if you catch the parasite in its early stages.

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How To Treat Your Cat For Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites exhibit different signs. Parasite control requires a basic grasp of those signs and causes.

Of all the health topics cat owners consider, intestinal worms rarely make the list, especially if the cat stays in the home exclusively and never adventures outdoors. It is important to note however, that intestinal worms result from several causes and that we as humans can become infected if we do not manage the situation properly.

Signs to watch for when considering if your cat has intestinal parasites include:

  • Intermittent diarrhea
  • Little or no weight gain, despite a healthy diet
  • Dull fur
  • Lethargy

Understand as well that that you are dealing with several different types of parasites and that they are not all visible to the eye. As a primer on the different parasites you may be dealing with:

It is important to know that most cats will require time to show signs of intestinal parasitism. The initial step in parasite control is having a stool sample tested by your veterinarian. Positive fecal exam results will determine the proper medication recommended for purging that particular worm. Be sure to consult your veterinary care professional before proceeding with any medication and never use a de-wormer on a cat that is otherwise sick, pregnant or debilitated. Worms are a health risk for sure, but properly treated can be cured effectively.

Blood And Worms In Cat Faeces

In some cases, the cats Faces may appear very black and tarry due to the presence of digested blood. If you find blood in the cats Faces, this is mainly due to diarrhoea and constipation, as tissue within the anus is being broken down and inflamed.

Sometimes, you may find small bits of worm within the cats Faeces. This ultimately means, the worm infection is very advanced.

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Gastrointestinal Parasites Of Cats

Gastrointestinal parasitism is a common problem in cats, with prevalence rates as high as 45% in some populations. These parasites can be wormlike or one-celled protozoan organisms. They usually cause fairly nonspecific symptoms, such as a dull coat, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, mucousy or bloody feces, loss of appetite, pale mucous membranes, or a potbellied appearance. The vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, and dehydration caused by intestinal parasites can weaken a cat, making it more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections and other diseases. Importantly, some GI parasites of cats have the potential to infect humans.


Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite of cats, affecting 25% to 75% of cats, with higher rates in kittens. Adult roundworms are three to five inches long, cream-colored, and live in the cats intestine, where they dont attach to the intestinal walls and survive by eating food ingested by the host. Adult female worms produce fertile eggs that are passed in the infected cats feces. The eggs require several days to several weeks to develop into the infective larval stage.

Hookworm larvae can penetrate human skin when people come in close contact with contaminated soil. As they migrate under the skin, these larvae can cause a skin condition called cutaneous larval migrans, characterized by itchiness, irritation, and long, linear, track-like lesions.

Neither Ollanulus nor Physaloptera cause disease in humans.

Diagnosis Of Tapeworms In Cats

How to Get Rid Of Tapeworms in Cats

Often, tapeworms are found by the owner of the cat while cleaning out the litter box. Once a cat has been brought in to a veterinary clinic, the vet will complete a physical examination including a close look at the cats anus, as proglottids are sometimes seen near the opening. If a cat is diagnosed with fleas, it is wise to assume that Dipylidium caninum tapeworms are also present.

Various fecal examinations will be needed to confirm the type of worms that have infested the cat. Examination of the eggs alone is often not accurate, as many worm eggs resemble each other. Approximately one teaspoon of fresh fecal material may need to be collected from your cat to perform a fecal flotation test. The excrement is then mixed with a substance that is heavier than the worms. After 20 minutes, all worm eggs will float to the surface of the mixture and can then be collected for microscopic analysis and identification.

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How Do You Diagnose Tapeworms In Cats

How do you know if your cat has tapeworms? The most common way that owners discover tapeworms is by finding the segments on the cat or on the cats bedding. Sometimes, it is possible to find a long, flat worm that has been vomited.

Often, your veterinarian might find the eggs of the tapeworm in your cats feces during a fecal exam, although the eggs are so large that sometimes they do not show up well under the microscope. If your kitty has fleas, it is likely a safe assumption that other friendsaka tapewormsare along for the ride as well. And if your cat hunts a lot, she likewise also has tapeworms.

Types Of Worms In Cats

Some of the most common worms that infect cats are roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and heartworms. Here’s how to identify them:

Roundworms look like cooked spaghetti. They infect the intestines and are the most common worms found in cats. Roundworms may not cause any symptoms, but major infections can cause vomiting, weight loss, or a pot-bellied appearance.

Tapeworm segments look like dried grains of rice or flat white sunflower seeds, and are often moving or crawling around the rectum.

Tapeworms tend to be more common in older cats and cats that hunt. Your cat may not show any symptoms of tapeworms, but in some cases, there may be vomiting and weight loss.

Hookworms look like shorter spaghetti noodles, measuring about two inches long. Hookworms have a ribbon of brownish-red down the body and a hooked shape.

They are a small form of roundworm that can damage the lining of your cat’s intestine. Hookworms feed on blood from the cat’s small intestine and can cause anemia and weight loss.

Heartworms don’t show up in your cat’s stool or vomit which is why it’s important to see your vet once a year to screen for heartworms, says Jess Nichols, DVM, Chief Veterinarian at the Pet Resource Center of Kansas City.

“The most common behavioral change is less energy or more grooming around its rear end,” Nichols says. You may also notice that your cat has a lower appetite. But not all cats with heartworms exhibit behavioral changes

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