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Roundworms In Humans From Cats

Symptoms Of Roundworms In Cats

Roundworms of Dogs (and Cats) – Plain and Simple

Spotting symptoms of roundworms in cats can be somewhat challenging. If your cat has a small number of worms, no symptoms may be present, but in general a cat with roundworms may experience lethargy, vomiting, abdominal swelling or a potbellied appearance , weight loss or failure to gain weight, dull coat or diarrhea.

Kittens in particular may vomit up roundworms or pass them in the litter box. If you suspect your cat has roundworms, you might spot the distinctive, spaghetti-like parasites in her feces. In extreme cases, roundworms in cats can cause intestinal blockage or coughing due to the migration of roundworm larvae into the lungs.

How To Prevent Roundworms In Cats

Many monthly heartworm preventative drugs also protect against roundworms. Your cats veterinarian will work with you to find the best roundworm treatment option for your pet.

Nichols adds that its important to keep your cats environment clean by regularly emptying its litter box. And because cats can get roundworms by eating infected meat, the Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends keeping cats indoors so theyre less able to hunt and eat animals that may carry the parasite.

What Is The Treatment For Roundworms

Fortunately, the treatment for roundworms is safe, simple, and relatively inexpensive. The dead and dying roundworms pass into the stool after administration of the anthelmintic or deworming medication. Since none of these treatments will kill the immature forms of the worm or the migrating larvae, at least two or three treatments are needed. Treatments are typically done at two to three week intervals. Ideally, kittens are dewormed with each visit for booster vaccinations. If your adult cat goes outdoors, you may wish to administer periodic doses of a dewormer. Nursing females should be treated at the same time as their litter of kittens.

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How Can I Help Reduce The Risk Of Roundworm In Cats

Good hygiene practices can help reduce the risks of this parasite for both pets and people:

  • Pick up your cats feces from the backyard , and regularly clean your cats litter box.
  • Wash your hands after cleaning out litter boxes.
  • Wash your cats bedding regularly, along with any blankets or cushions your cat uses for sleeping or grooming.
  • Control rodent and insect populations that could carry roundworm.

Implementing these good hygiene practices can help keep your pet happy and healthy for years to come.

How Do Dogs Get Roundworms

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So how do these intestinal critters make their way into your dogs body? There are a few different ways that dogs catch roundworms, so lets break down each transmission method below.

The first way that dogs become infected with roundworms is by coming in contact with infected stool. This typically involves them either sniffing or consuming another dogs infected poop, which ultimately allows the roundworm eggs to enter your dogs body and begin their maturation cycle.

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The next way that dogs come in contact with roundworm eggs is by consuming infected soil. This often happens when a dog begins to dig in an area where infected stool once was, as the eggs of the roundworms can still be present. The digging dog will either consume the infected soil while they are digging, or they will lick their paws while grooming afterward.

Dogs can also get roundworms if they consume an animal that is infected. This can include birds, rodents, worms, and even cockroaches. Roundworms can create cyst-like pockets throughout the body of an infected animal. Once the dog eats the infected animal, it introduces the roundworms to their digestive tract.

Toxocara canis

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What About My Other Pets

If one family pet is diagnosed with roundworms, your veterinary team will want to check fecal samples from all of the other pets in the house. Intestinal parasites are spread relatively easily among family pets, and even if dogs and cats do not show overt symptoms, they could still be suffering intestinal damage from infection.

What Exactly Are Roundworms In Cats

Roundworms are one of the most common feline intestinal parasites. They can be a major source of illness, and even death, especially in kittens and geriatric cats. Almost all cats become infected with roundworms at some point in their lives. That usually happens while theyre still kittens.

These are large-bodied round worms, as their name implies. They average 3-6 inches in length. They do not attach to the intestine’s wall as some intestinal parasites do. Instead, they move freely within the intestine. The two types that can infect cats are as follows:

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What Are The Symptoms Of Roundworms In Cats

Your kitten with roundworms may have a poor appetite, diarrhea alternating with constipation, and weight loss. Growth will be reduced as well, and their coat will appear dull. Vomiting is common, and you may see worms in the vomit. These worms are usually large and alive.

If the worms are large in number, they migrate and may reach the lungs. Your cat will develop a cough. A large number of worms migrating to the lungs can cause a frothy discharge from the nose, pneumonia, fluid collection of the lungs, breathing difficulty, and even death.

A large load of worms can make your cat look potbellied. Sometimes, you may see living, adult worms in your cat’s feces.

Roundworm infection can cause severe disease in your cat. Sometimes, these worms can cause severe anemia . Kittens with worms may also develop:

  • Thickening of the intestines
  • Swelling of the duodenum
  • Blockage of the intestine, preventing passage and digestion of food
  • Blockage of the bile duct, which carries bile from the liver
  • Blockage of the pancreatic duct, which carries digestive juices from the pancreas
  • Bursting of the intestines, a life-threatening situation

Can I Catch Worms From My Cat Or Dog

Roundworm in dogs and cats

Yes, humans can contract worms from cats and dogs, including roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms. Heres what you need to know.

Most pet owners only think of their pets welfare when they treat worms. Its important to know, however, that worms can also pose a health risk for you and your family. Thats why its so essential to know the symptoms of worms in cats and dogs, to deworm your pet and maintain a regular deworming schedule, as required.

Heres our guide to the parasites your cat or dog could catch and how you can reduce the risks of you and your family contracting them.

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Biology And Pathogenicity Of Intestinal Nematodes: Threats For Pets And Humans

Virtually 100% of dogs and cats, from the cosseted and beloved pet to the stray animal, have been in contact with ascarids and ancylostomatids or, at least, are at risk of disease.

Adults ofToxocara canisspontaneously expelled with the faeces by a puppy.

Infected kittens may show a catarrhal enteritis with variable appetite, vomiting after feeding, diarrhoea alternated with constipation, developmental disturbances, anaemia and anorexia, especially after severe infections . In adult cats T. cati may cause vomiting, enlargement of the abdomen, anorexia and even gastric perforation with presence of adult parasites in the abdominal cavity .

A case of a feline infection by T. canis characterized by an eosinophilic granulomatous dissemination of larvae has been reported in a pyrexic cat .

Toxascaris leonina has a less dramatic pathogenicity, but in dogs it may cause pica, digestive disturbances and reduced growth, while in cats the infection can be seen as an enteritis with vomiting and diarrhoea, even bloody .

Cats affected by A. tubaeforme suffer with enteritis, blood loss, diarrhoeic faeces, reduced weight, regenerative anemia, cachexia and even death .

Uncinaria stenocephala has a less intense haematophagous activity compared to Ancylostoma spp. and removes small amounts of blood heavy infections in young animals may be characterized by mild anaemia, hypoalbuminemia, anorexia, diarrhoea and lethargy .

Signs & Symptoms Of Roundworms In Cats

Signs and symptoms of roundworms in cats are similar to the symptoms of other feline intestinal parasites.

  • Visible worms in vomit and feces

  • Diarrhea with mucus

Roundworms are particularly common in kittens. These parasites make it difficult for your kitten to absorb the nutrients they need, which can cause your kitten to stop growing, have a dull coat and a pot-bellied appearance. If you notice any such loss of condition, contact your veterinarian straight away.

During the early stages of infestation, roundworm larvae migrate, which can cause a type of pneumonia and lead to coughing. As the infection progresses, you may also notice worms in your cats vomit or feces.

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How To Prevent Roundworms

Roundworms generally infect kittens and cats who spend time outdoors or who spend time with outdoor cats, so keeping cats inside is a powerful preventative.

Once roundworm is diagnosed, it’s important to follow the vet’s instructions carefully to prevent recurrent infestations. These may include:

  • Cleaning litter boxes daily
  • Keeping your cat indoors
  • Cleaning surfaces frequented by your cat regularly throughout the treatment process
  • Keeping cat feces away from other animals and children
  • Washing your hands after handling your cat

Many of the monthly prescription medications designed to prevent heartworms and other parasites will also keep roundworms under control. Discuss these options with your vet, and ask about the potential side effects so that you can weigh the risk-to-benefit ratio of using these medications.

How Likely Is It For Humans To Get Worms From Cats


In most cases, a person has to ingest parasite-laden feces in order to contract worms from an animal. Good common sense and hygiene greatly reduces the risk, Weese said. The risk is never zero, Weese said, but Im not convinced its any higher for a vet than someone that goes for a walk in the park.

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How Do I Know If I Got Worms From My Cat

Small segments break off and are passed in your pet’s feces. These segments, which can sometimes be seen moving, are actually packets of tapeworm eggs. If your pet has tapeworms, you may see tiny white segments that look like grains of rice slowly moving around their waste or stuck to their back end.

What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of Roundworm Infection Of Your Intestines

This type of roundworm spreads through poor hygiene. It often lives in human feces . People catch it through hand-to-mouth contact.

If you have a roundworm infection of your intestines , you may not have symptoms. You may see live worms in your poop though. If you do have symptoms, they may include:

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How Are Cats With Roundworms Treated

The treatment is the same regardless of the specific type of roundworm your cat picked up. Several deworming medications can be used to treat roundworms. Your veterinarian can help you choose the best one for your cat. Because medications only affect adult roundworms, they must be repeated every two to three weeks to deal with any residual larvae as they mature. The number of treatments required will be determined by the age of the cat and the severity of the infestation. Your vet will tell you all the necessary details you will need to know.

If you have a pregnant cat, talk to your vet about deworming the mother and kittens. Once dewormed, regular monthly dewormers contain active ingredients that will prevent roundworm infections. Again, there are various options you can choose from, and you should discuss them with your veterinarian. Cleaning up pet waste and preventing your cat from eating rodents can also help avoid parasite infection.

T Cati Infection In Humans

Hookworm and Roundworms

It is possible for Toxocara cati to be transmitted to humans, usually as a consequence of humans consuming the larval stage of the parasite, resulting in a condition known as toxocariasis. Typically, this happens when an individual pets an infected cat, picks up the parasite off of the fur and touches their face before washing their hands. The larvae migrate through the viscera in humans. Depending on the location and number of the larva in the human host, the disease can either be asymptomatic or cause conditions such as fever, cough, pneumonia, and vision loss.

The two more severe forms of the disease are visceral toxocariasis and ocular toxocariasis. Visceral toxocariasis typically occurs in children, but can infect persons of any age. Signs and symptoms can include fever, wheezing, hepatomegaly, abdominal pain, anorexia, or skin reaction. Rarely, the migrating larvae can cause eosinophilic meningitis or encephalitis, myelitis, optic neuritis, radiculitis, cranial nerve palsy, or myocarditis. In lab findings, there is almost always a marked peripheral eosinophilia and often, anemia and a hypergammaglobulinemia.

  • loss of appetite or weight loss

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Feline Hookworms Can Eat Their Way In Your Skin

Humans can also be infected with feline hookworms. As with roundworms, eggs are excreted in the feces of infected cats. These become infectious after five to 10 days in the environment when they have developed into larvae or juvenile worms capable of penetrating the skin by eating their way in.

They migrate under the skin leaving intensely itchy, red, swollen winding tracks in their wake. This is known as cutaneous larva migrans.

“Humans are an abnormal host for feline parasites, so the parasites become lost and confused in a human body and do some unusual things when they cannot find their way to a target feline organ.”

Can Humans Be Infected By The Worms

Some types of worms can be spread between cats and people. For example, the eggs from some of the roundworms can be ingested accidentally, with the result that the egg may hatch and the larva then migrate out of the bowel and lodge in the tissues of our bodies. Whilst this is not common, there are reports of a few children having eaten the eggs and suffering eye damage and even blindness as a result. As the eggs are also left in the soil when an infected cat does its toilet, it is always advised to wear gloves when gardening.

The common tapeworms are much less likely to infect humans, however yet again this can occur, and is most likely to be the result of an infected flea being swallowed.

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What Types Of Worms Can Cats Pass To Humans

Although there are several types of worms that affect cats, there are only some of them that typically affect humans. Only intestinal parasites post any inherent risk to humans, which means that you dont have to worry about getting heartworms from your cat.

The reason why intestinal worms can infect humans is that they are passed through a cats feces. Since humans are responsible for cleaning the litter box, they are more likely to come into contact with them. But not all types of intestinal worms pose the same risk for humans.

Roundworms and hookworms are the most common types of worms that humans can get from cats, but the method of transmission for the two is different. For example, roundworms usually have to be ingested. Of course, this would be accidental ingestion, but it usually happens as a result of not washing your hands after cleaning the litter box or cleaning up your cats vomit and then preparing food. It sounds gross, but it can happen.

Although hookworms tend to affect mostly the intestines of cats, they can affect the skin of humans. They do this by hooking onto your skin when cleaning the litter box or walking somewhere where your cat has thrown up or used the bathroom. Once they have attached to your skin, they can enter your body through your bloodstream and infect your intestines as well.

What Are The Clinical Signs Of Roundworm Infection

Roundworm Info

Roundworms are not particularly harmful to adult cats, but large numbers may cause life-threatening problems in kittens and debilitated older cats. In kittens, common clinical signs include a pot-bellied appearance, abdominal discomfort, depressed appetite, dull hair coat, vomiting and diarrhea, or poor growth.

“Large numbers of roundworms may cause life-threatening problems in kittens and debilitated older cats.”

In both kittens and adult cats with small numbers of worms, there may be no clinical signs of infection. You may notice adult roundworms in your cats stool or in their vomit.

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How Are Roundworms Treated

While there are various kinds of roundworms, they usually all have the same treatment. Your provider will prescribe a medicine called albendazole. This medicine prevents the larvae from getting bigger or multiplying. The worms in your body then pass through your poop. You may not even notice it happening.

Depending on the type of roundworm, you may need to repeat the treatment after a few weeks. Doing so makes sure the parasites are completely gone.

You may also need a prescription for an iron supplement to help with anemia. And a prescription cream can help stop any itching.

Feline Roundworms Can Infect Humans Especially Children

Feline roundworms can also cause disease in humans. Eggs from this parasite are excreted in cat feces. After two weeks in the open, they can become infectious to humans! If accidentally ingested, the worms can migrate to organs such as the liver, lungs, brain or eyes, where the human body generates an immune response to try to wall them off and prevent them from moving any further.

The disease in humans is known as visceral larva migrans, or if in the eye, ocular larva migrans. The symptoms of this disease vary. If the worms migrate to the eye, permanent loss of vision can result, while a cough or asthma-like signs indicate they are in the lungs. Some people display no symptoms at all. Children are at a higher risk of infection due to their playing habits, such as eating dirt, their attraction to pets and their reluctance to wash their hands before eating.

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