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The Essential Facts About Tapeworm in Cats

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    New Hampshire

    The Essential Facts About Tapeworm in Cats

    Tapeworms are quite common in cats, and Iím sure youíve seen them before. Hereís some information about what they are, where they come from and how to treat them.

    Tapeworms are classified as cestodes

    Cestodes are a family of parasitic flatworms. Theyíre called flatworms because they are (duh) flat, ribbon-like worms, as opposed to roundworms such as earthworms and hookworms. The most common species of tapeworm to infect cats is Dipylidium caninum, or the dog tapeworm.
    Your cat gets tapeworms because of fleas

    Even if you donít see a single flea on your cat, he must have ingested a flea to develop tapeworms. Thatís because fleas are the intermediate host: that is, the tapeworm is unable to complete its life cycle without fleas.
    A tapeworm. The tiny part on the left is the scolex, or head, and from there back are the proglottids.
    The first step of infection: Hooking in

    After your cat eats a flea, the stomach acids digest the flea and leave the tapeworm eggs floating free in the intestines. As they develop, they grow hook-like mouth parts, which attach to the walls of the intestines. This head and its hooks are called a scolex.
    The second step: Growing

    As adult tapeworms mature, they produce individual segments that are basically sacs full of eggs. Those break off and pass through the intestines and out with the feces. Those segments are called proglottids, and theyíre those disgusting rice-grain things youíll see moving around in your catís poop or near his anus. Adult tapeworms can grow to several inches in length. Sometimes if a cat develops a tapeworm in his stomach, he could vomit it up: Extra points for grossness, kitty!
    Tapeworm proglottids. These are the things you see on your catís feces or on his butt.
    Treating tapeworm in cats

    Many products on the market supposedly treat tapeworms in cats, but the most effective treatment is a broad-spectrum cat dewormer, which is available only through a veterinarian. It can be given as a tablet or an injection. Usually you wonít see any worms coming out of your cat after the dewormer is given, because the worms die and are then digested in the intestine. Youíll also want to de-flea your home by cleaning all bedding, furniture, and carpets in order to prevent reinfection.
    Thereís another kind of tapeworm that can infect cats

    Cats can get infected with the tapeworm species Taenia when they eat infected mice, birds or rabbits. Those animals are the intermediate hosts of Taenia The dewormer you get from your vet will kill Taenia tapeworms, too. But if your cat keeps eating prey, heíll get reinfected and start passing tapeworm segments in six to eight weeks.

    Can tapeworms infect humans?

    Itís very, very unlikely, because a person would actually have to eat a flea in order to get infected with tapeworms from a cat. That said, there are tapeworms that infect humans, usually as a result of eating undercooked pork or beef.
    A word on home remedies for tapeworm in cats

    Yes, there are also lots of folk remedies for treating tapeworms, but none of them is effective. Believe me, Iíve tried them. Some are outright toxic, too: Iíve seen people advise giving garlic to a tapeworm-infected cat, but garlic causes potentially fatal anemia in kitties, so please, just donít.

    Preventing tapeworms

    Because a cat must ingest fleas or eat prey in order to develop tapeworms, the most effective thing you can do to keep your cat from getting them is to use regular flea prevention. Keep your cat indoors so he doesnít eat mice, birds, or rabbits. Monthly flea control products from your veterinarian are very important, especially if you live in a heavily flea-infested area.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    PA USA
    Good information Linda...thanks.

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