How Remedy for Tapeworms in Cats

In order to effectively treat tapeworms in cats, you need to know how to identify them and understand their life cycle. Undoubtedly, the best method against tapeworms in cats is prevention, but the infection can still be treated if it is detected in its early stages.

Tapeworms in Cats Explained

Tapeworms are long and segmented, with each segment containing its own reproductive parts. The head of the tapeworm attaches itself to the intestinal wall where it feeds off blood for survival and reproduction. When the segments at the end of the worm have matured, they break off and begin reproducing more segments.

In order to live, tapeworms must have a host that provides them with sustenance in the form of blood. The most common hosts of tapeworms include fleas, dog, and cats. Cats can contact a tapeworm infection through the ingestion of fleas, which is why proper flea management is so crucial to the overall health of a cat. Once an infected flea is ingested, the tapeworms break off, attach to the intestinal wall of the cat, and thus continue their process of reproduction.

Identifying Tapeworms

Tapeworms in cats can be a life-threatening condition, so it is important to be able to recognize them. In general, cats do not usually display any outward symptoms when initially affected by tapeworms. The first sign that cat owners usually recognize is rice-like granules in the stool. These granules will authentically look like rice, but as they begin to move, a cat owner can quickly make the distinction.

If the lifecycle of the tapeworms has been allowed to progress, some outward signs may begin to become apparent, such as weakness, lethargy, weight loss, or lack of appetite. These symptoms are usually only noticed when the infection has become so severe that the tapeworms are consuming all nutrition ingested by the cat. Because the tapeworms are essentially feeding on blood, anemia is a common side effect of tapeworms in cats.

Prevention and Treatment

The best way to manage tapeworms in cats is to prevent it before it occurs. Cat owners can do this by administering a monthly flea control regimen. However, there is still a minute risk even to cats on flea preventative medication.

There are a few medications that are typically used for tapeworm treatment in cats: Droncit, Tradewinds Tapeworm Tabs, and Cestex. Droncit contains the active ingredient praziquantel, and Tradewinds Tapeworm Taps is the generic form of Droncit. Cestex uses the active ingredient epsiprantel. Both medications work by disintegrating the tapeworms. Because tapeworms live in the intestinal tract of cats, they will be passed through the digestive system once they have been disintegrated and killed off. It is not uncommon to see tapeworms in the feces of cats once tapeworm treatment has begun. As long as the remnants in the feces are not moving, you can be assured that treatment is working effectively.

The type of medication given often depends on the veterinarian’s choice and the age of the cat. Cestex is not approved for use in kittens under 7 weeks old, and neither medication is approved for pregnant cats.