Tinea in cats – Symptoms and Treatment
Tapeworms are flat-shaped worms that live in the intestines of people and animals, including cats. These worms behave like parasites , feeding on part of the food consumed by the animal, then known as a guest.
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This situation, which may seem comfortable for the parasite, is not so pleasant for our cats, which can cause diarrhea or slow growth. If you want to prevent these problems from reaching your pet in the Animal Expert, let’s talk about the symptoms of tapeworm in cats as well as the forms of infection and the treatment.
Symptoms of tapeworm in cats
In many cases, the symptoms caused by tapeworms in cats may be mild and difficult to detect . However, at times, more serious problems may develop that reveal feline teniasis.
Such symptoms are a consequence of the presence and manner of feeding of these irritating worms. We will explain next:
On the one hand, to avoid being expelled by the intestinal movements of the host, these parasites are fixed in the intestinal wall with mechanisms that vary according to the species of tapeworm, and include suckers and sometimes hooks. As we can imagine, this causes irritation and inflammation in the intestinal tissue, which can cause abdominal pain in the host. Check out our article for how to identify the signs of pain in cats .
Moreover, the simple presence of these worms in the animal’s digestive system can produce diarrhea and intestinal obstructions if there are too many worms.
We also observe how the tapeworms “steal” some of the nutrients that the cat ingests, causing problems in their nutrition , such as lack of vitamins and delayed growth of our kitten.
In the case of Dipylidium caninum , a relatively common tapeworm in cats, can be detected by itching in the area near the anus of the animal. This is because the eggs of the parasite leave the cat’s anus along with parts of the worm (called proglottes) that move through the anal region causing discomfort.
Cats with tapeworm – contagion
There are numerous species of tapeworms and, depending on the type in question, can affect different animals. In addition, the tapeworm life cycle may vary from species to species, but usually have some common characteristics.
In relation to the worm type, cats can be infected by tapeworms of the species Dipylidium caninum , Taenia taeniformis , Diphyllobotrium latum and may also host some species of Echinoccocus , which are typical of dogs, and other canines.
How can tapeworm infect a cat?
It is necessary to know the differences between definitive and intermediate host: the definitive host is the animal that hosts the adult worms that feed and reproduce in their intestines through eggs .
These eggs are ingested by another animal , known as an intermediate host. In the tissues of the intermediate host, the eggs are transformed into larvae that wait to be ingested by the definitive host.
Therefore, the definitive host, like the cat, is infected by the ingestion of the meat of intermediate hosts , containing the larvae of the parasite, and thus develop the adult worm and start the cycle.
Forms of contagion:
- Thus, in the case of the parasite Dipylidium caninum , the fleas behave as intermediate hosts and infect the cats that ingested them.
- The Diphyllobotrium latum , also known as the “fish tapeworm” is transmitted by the consumption of raw fish containing the larvae of these parasites.
- As intermediate hosts of Taenia taeniaeformis are rodents. Already Echinococcu s are hosted by several species of mammals, such as pigs and sheep, for example.
Can tapeworm in cats infect humans?
As has been said, not only cats can be affected by worms, but also humans , which makes prevention fundamental.
Thus, for example, man may act as the definitive host of the Diphyllobotrium latum by eating the raw, parasitized fish. On rare occasions, you may contract Dipylidium caninum , by ingesting fleas, voluntarily or involuntarily (something possible in children). In both cases, the adult worm develops in the gut of the affected person.
He may also be the intermediate host of certain Echinococcus species , in this case developing cysts with larvae of parasites in their tissues (liver, lung, for example), in a process known as hydatidosis.
Diagnosis of tapeworm in cats
In cases of solitary cats, prevention plays a key role. However, if the measures taken are not sufficient to prevent contagion, accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment should be used.
The diagnosis is based on examining the animal’s faeces (a cochlear examination) performed by a veterinarian with the help of a microscope to try to observe the parasite’s eggs.
In some cases, through a blood test , we can detect antibodies against the parasite, diagnosing the disease and the worm species involved.
How to treat tapeworm in cats
Treatment to eliminate tapeworm in cats is based on the use of drugs such as praziquantel, effective against flatworms. This medicine is given orally, usually in the form of tablets, under veterinary prescription.
In addition, depending on the severity of the case and the associated clinical symptoms(diarrhea, malnutrition, etc.), supplemental treatment may be necessary (eg providing a dietary supplement).
As we have seen, tapeworm in cats can cause fairly serious problems in our furry friends. Fortunately, however, there are effective means for their prevention and treatment.
How to prevent tapeworm in cats
To avoid contagion, we recommend not feeding our cats with meat or fish without cooking . In cases where the feline has access to the outside, one should avoid or control that it eats the rodents or dead animals as much as possible.
It is also essential to avoid and eliminate fleas in the animal using repellent products such as pipettes and antiparasitic collars. Always under the supervision of a veterinarian, and controlling the hygiene of the environment where the cat lives.
Another important factor in preventing disease caused by feline worms is vermifugar regularly pets with a product effective against intestinal worms, such as praziquantel. This should be done under the control of your veterinarian.
This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.
If you want to read more articles the similar to Tênia in cats – Symptoms and treatment , we recommend you to enter our section of Parasitic diseases .