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Cat Deworming

Cat Deworming - FAQs

Amanda Klein

Lowell Animal Hospital

How do I find worms in my cat?

Sometimes you find them in their feces. If it's a cat, you scoop out their litter box, and you see rice or spaghetti-looking worms on top of their stool. You question it and think, what is that? If you're cleaning up the dog, the same thing. It is pretty common. I just want to throw it out there. I once had a lady tell me, I swear, I'm a good owner. Well, of course, you're a good owner, and this is very common. You also need to know that worms can be zoonotic, so you want to make sure that anytime you're cleaning up after your pet stool, make sure you wash your hands. How do we find worms? Maybe you didn't even see them in the stool, but it is important to do a fecal exam at least once a year. We want to ensure that your pets aren't picking up worms or intestinal parasites out in their environment or from other pets or animals they're around in their environment. So we need to check a fecal sample. We take a sample, the freshest sample you have, because if it's a dried-out one, we obviously can't mix that with any kind of solution to figure out if they have worms. So it needs to be a fresh sample. We usually send that out to a lab, and we get the results the next day. It's amazing. Back in the day, you used to have 50 fecal samples lined up on the counter to read. It's so nice to send them out, and I apologize that it takes a day, but it really is helpful. Some professionals are reading fecal samples over there, and then they send us the results via fax.

What medication is used for deworming?

We have several different types of dewormers, depending on what kind of parasite or worm they have. We have a pill for tapeworms, topical dewormers, and oral deworming liquids that they take for a couple of days. We always like to recheck fecal samples to make sure they are negative. Because it is zoonotic, and parasites can make them very sick, we want to make sure those parasites are gone, so three weeks or so after their last dose, we like to make sure that they're gone. Once we get that negative result, you're in the clear. As I said, we like to check fecal samples once a year because they can pick up worms at any time in their life. My dog, for some reason, always has coccidia because he eats rabbit poop. It's so annoying, but it happens, so I'm always diligent and make sure that I'm checking his fecal sample at least once a year.

Can I deworm my cat at home?

No, I don't even know what you would use to deworm your cat at home. The medications that we use are safe and effective. They take care of the problem adequately. So we want to make sure that you're not going to make the problem worse and that it will work and take care of the problem. I wouldn't want worms myself, so I would want to use something fast and efficient enough to get rid of worms so that I know my kids are safe, I'm safe, and my pet is safe, and they're not going to get unhealthy and have any issues.

How often should my cat be dewormed?

We will automatically deworm the baby kittens and the puppies just because roundworms are so common from the mother's milk. Then, we will send out a fecal sample and find out if they have worms, and then if the doctor recommends a second deworming, we'll go ahead and give that.

What happens when my cat is dewormed?

Sometimes, but not always, giving a dewormer will push out those adult worms. You'll start to see roundworms, which are spaghetti-looking, or tapeworms, which look like rice. It was quite frightening. One time I gave a puppy a dewormer, and it did not take long for the poor thing to have a roundworm bowel movement solely. It was terrifying. It looked like an alien coming out. When they are fresh out of the colon, they do move, so it is terrifying, and it can be quite scary for somebody who doesn't know what they're looking at. Once they are out of the host, they dry up and die. Sometimes you don't see something moving, they're all dried up, and they look like rice. That's what they feel like, too.

Is deworming necessary for cats?

If they test positive for worms, then yes, because worms can cause a significant amount of different issues, such as anemia, hunger, diarrhea, and vomiting. We like to deworm the babies because we know that 70% of the time, they get roundworms from their mothers.

What would happen if my cat isn't dewormed?

If you don't deworm them, they can get anemia and extreme belly distension because those worms are feeding off of the nutrients in the food that your cat is trying to eat. The vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration, and they can get to a point where they can die. So it's very important that you deworm them and ensure that you get them taken care of. As I've said many times, worms can be transferred to humans, and if I don't want worms, I want to make sure my pet is healthy and that I am healthy and my family is healthy.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (219) 247-0555, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

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