Cat Tapeworm Symptoms and Identification

Cat tapeworm infection is a common ailment that many cat owners have dealt with once or twice. Often tapeworm occurs in kittens because they contract it from their mother at birth or shortly thereafter. Administering deworming medication over several weeks, or until fecal tests prove that tapeworm is no longer an issue for the cat, treats tapeworm in cats.

What Tapeworm Looks Like

Most pet owners who have a cat infected with tapeworm notice what appears to be a piece of rice in their cat's stool. This apparent grain of rice is actually a segment of the larger tapeworm shed upon maturity. Each segment of the tapeworm carries reproductive capabilities and eggs that can lead to more worms on infestation of other animals or human who come into contact with the worm. Pet owners may also notice larger pieces of tapeworms or more segments connected together in the cat's stool. The large tapeworms will look similar to angel hair pasta.

Indication of Tapeworm Infection

Cats with tapeworm infections often display no immediate symptoms of the infection. However, in some cats symptoms are much more prevalent. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, extended stomach, dehydration, and fatigue and lethargy and weight loss. There is also the possibility of the tapeworm larvae traveling through the cat's system to the eyes. If this happens, permanent eye damage can occur.

Symptoms Serious Infection

Most owners notice that their cat has an infection by finding evidence of infection in their cat's stool. However, if they don't notice the symptoms in their early stages, severe infection can occur. Severe infection can lead to intestinal obstruction that can be deadly to the infected cat. In addition, tapeworm infections can lead to permanent eye damage. This happens when a tapeworm larvae travels through the body to the eyes of the infected cat. Both of these serious symptoms of infection are rare.

Identification of Tapeworms

Often when a cat is displaying the most common symptom of tapeworm infection, which is the presence of worms in the feces, pet owners don't know necessarily what kind of worms they are seeing. Tapeworms are distinctive because of the segments. A large worm will appear to have many segments and the head is what attaches to the intestine of the animal. Other types of worms are flat and look like one continuous worm rather than appearing segmented as the tapeworms are.

Cat worm medication is inexpensive and very effective in treating tapeworm. Feline parasite infestations do happen, and because they are so common many veterinarians treat all their feline patients for worms annually. Veterinarians choosing to treat cats annually do so regardless of whether the cat displays symptoms of tapeworm infection. This is an accepted practice because cat worm medication does not have any serious side effects even when given to a cat that does not currently have a tapeworm infection.