Preventing Cat Tapeworm Infection through Flea Control

Cat tapeworm infection is usually spread through fleas. You can prevent tapeworm infection by controlling fleas on your cat and property, as well as in your home. Proper hygiene can help keep the infestation from spreading to human members of the household. If your cat does develop a tapeworm infestation, a deworming medication dispensed by your vet can clear up the problem.

Flea Control On Your Cat and in Your Home

Tapeworms are spread primarily by fleas. Fleas carry tapeworm eggs, and if your cat swallows a flea that's carrying these eggs, he could become infested with tapeworms. Control fleas on your cat by using flea powders, shampoos and collars. A topical flea control medication, such as Frontline or Advantage, can be even more effective in controlling cat fleas.

Fleas can be hard to control in the home due to the stage of their life cycle. Killing adult fleas isn't enough; you also have to kill their eggs and larvae. Eggs and larvae can live in upholstery, carpets, linens and even in floorboard cracks. You may have to treat your home for fleas several times to kill all eggs and larvae.

To control fleas in the home, steam clean carpets, upholstery and curtains. Wash bed and other linens in hot water. Your vet can recommend an insecticide that won't harm you or your cat, but will kill fleas living in upholstery, carpets and floorboard cracks. Treat your home at least twice to control indoor fleas. The second treatment should occur seven to ten days after the first.

Controlling Outdoor Fleas

Even if you eliminate fleas from your cat and your home, fleas can continue to live in your yard. If your cat goes outside, he could carry fleas back into the house on his body. Treat your lawn with flea repellent. You may have to do this several times. Keep your property clear of debris and keep flowerbeds neat and tidy.

Mowing your lawn regularly can help control outdoor fleas. Mowing your lawn allows sunlight to reach the soil, where flea eggs and larvae live. Sunlight damages flea eggs and larvae, and can even kill them. Treating your cat with a topical flea medication can also help keep him from picking up fleas when he goes outside.

If Your Cat Contracts Tapeworms

Tapeworm infestations are very common and most cats will, at some point in their lives, contract tapeworms despite your best efforts. Symptoms of tapeworm infection include diarrhea and vomiting, and, in more extreme cases, malnutrition and anemia. Tapeworms have segmented bodies, so if your cat does contract them, you may be able to see these segments in his feces or clinging to the skin and fur around his anus. They look like small pieces of rice.

If your cat contracts tapeworms, see your veterinarian. Take along a stool sample, as he'll need to examine it in order to make a diagnosis. Tapeworm infestations are usually easy to clear up with an oral deworming medication. You can prevent further tapeworm infestation by controlling fleas on your cat and property and in your home, discouraging hunting behaviors and minimizing your cat's contact with other animals.