Intestinal parasites in cats: treatment and prevention

Intestinal parasites in cats: treatment and prevention

Up to 45% of the feline population will be affected by gastrointestinal parasites at some point in their lives. With these levels of prevalence, it is essential to learn to distinguish the symptoms that our pets may experience once infected, and to prevent them from becoming infected in the future.

How to know if our cat is infected

Intestinal parasites are usually silent and effective and they usually act in a certain harmony with their host, on whom they depend to survive. Usually, When our cat begins to experience symptoms it is a sign that there has been a break in the balance.

Massive reproduction of the parasites can endanger the life of the animal, and symptom What your pet may experience may vary depending on the type of parasite that infects it. Here is a list of the most common:

  • In young cats, the so-called 'failure in development', that is, a stop in the normal growth of a puppy due to the presence of parasites that monopolize their source of nutrients.
  • Rickets
  • Anemia
  • Vomiting, diarrhea and gastrointestinal disorders
  • Loss of sheen in the mantle
  • Swollen and rounded belly
  • Dehydration

These symptoms can weaken our cat and make it more susceptible to diseases caused by viruses or bacteria. Domestic cats are usually little exposed to parasites, since they tend to take great care of their hygiene and will only have a higher risk of becoming infected in unhealthy environments or in nature.

Types of parasites to be alert

The most common parasites that we can detect in our cat's feces are worms. These can be round or flat. In this last case, we would be talking about tapeworms.

Roundworms are the most common and they are usually found in young cats. The types of rounded worms that most often affect the feline population are theToxocara cati and the Toxocara leonina. The female of this type of worms can lay up to 300 000 eggs a day. They are usually located in the small intestine of the cat, which removes the eggs in the feces.

The eggs of this type of worm will infect the environment of your pet and may affect other animals. They can also infect humans. These eggs resist high and low temperatures and maintain their contagious capacity for five years.

Thehookworms, also called hookworms, are less common than round ones. However, they usually cause more damage to the animal, sincethey eat blood and tissues through the intestinal wall and cause injuries that lead to blood loss and severe anemia. They are usually spread through the skin or when ingested.

Between the you had, the most common isDipylidium caninumor had the flea. It is transmitted when the cat ingests fleas infested with the larvae of this parasite. This usually happens when you groom and take a flea ahead by accident.

Cats infected by tapeworms do not usually show symptoms, except maybe a slight irritation in the anal region caused by their eggs, so it is advisable to be alert to detect unusual behaviors.

Treatment and prevention of intestinal parasites

These parasites are treated with dosage of medication prescribed by the veterinarian. One of the most used is Piperazine, which gets rid of round worms, but only those that already live in the intestine. Another common medicine is Pyrantel Pamoate, which can be given to pregnant cats or young animals.

Refering to prevention, hygiene of the environment of the animal is the most important factor to take into account to prevent the appearance of parasites. We recommend a regular disinfection of the areas where the cat is usually. Examining our animal's feces from time to time and taking it to the vet for routine check-ups can also be helpful.

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