Worm Medicine for Cats

Depending on the type of worm, cats may require different types of medicine to treat each parasite. It is important to correctly identify the worm and administer the correct medication for effective treatment.

Symptoms of Worms

Cats infested with worms are more prone to other illnesses. Intestinal worms leech out vitamins and nutrients that your cat needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some cats with severe intestinal worms may appear malnourished, tired and depressed. Death is also possible when the worm infection becomes so extreme that the intestinal passage is blocked.

One method to check for worms is to have your cat's stool checked. Some worms are visible to the naked eye, however, others are not. Worms that are visible may also be observed near your cat's anus, or stuck to the fur. You should also look for dead segments in your cat's bedding; these will appear as small brown grains of rice.

Worms not visible to the eye must be checked either with blood tests or through an analysis of the stool under a microscope.

Feline Worms Treatment

Different types of worms may require different medications to effectively treat them.

Roundworm Treatment

A roundworm infection is a typical worm infection found in cats. It can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and the classic "pot-bellied" appearance. Most dewormers are effective against this type. Particularly effective are those medications containing the active ingredients:

  • Febantel
  • Pyrantel Pamoate
  • Piperazine
  • Febendazole
  • Selamectin
  • Emodepside

Medications such as Worm Away, Interceptor and Revolution are all effective. Roundworms are a common and easy to treat parasite.

Treatment for Tapeworm

Tapeworms are another highly common intestinal worm. They often are diagnosed by the presence of segments in your cat's stool and fur. Highly effective medications will include active ingredients such as:

  • Pyrantel Pamoate
  • Emodepside
  • Praziquantel
  • Epsiquantel

Some effective medications are Droncit Feline Cestocide, Tradewinds Tape Worm Tabs and Cestex.

Heartworm Treatments

Heartworms are large worms that live in your cat's pulmonary arteries and heart. While they are mainly a problem for dogs, cats can be susceptible to them, too. They are transmitted through mosquitoes and are somewhat difficult to diagnose. Clinical signs include rapid breathing and coughing. A veterinarian will run a blood test to determine if your cat has heartworms.

There are no effective treatments against heartworms in cats, and death may come suddenly to seemingly healthy animals. However, it is easy to prevent heartworms with certain medications. These include:

  • Advantage Multi for Cats
  • Heartgard Chewables
  • Interceptor
  • Revolution

Cats can be safely given these medications without fear of toxicity, and most of them require only monthly dosage.

Hookworm Treatments

In cats, hookworms are somewhat uncommon. These types of worms latch onto your cat's intestinal tract with small teeth and leech blood. Cats infected with hookworms may show signs of anemia, intestinal bleeding and diarrhea. In severe cases, a hookworm infection may cause death.

There are several active ingredients in medications that will fight and prevent hookworms. Active ingredients such as:

  • Milbemycin oxine
  • Selamectin
  • Moxidectin
  • Imidacloprid
  • Pyrantel pamoate
  • Ivermectin

are commonly found in Advantage Multi for Cats, Drontal, Profender and Heartgard Chewables.

Different types of worms may require different medication to be effectively treated. Many veterinarians recommend regular deworming to ensure any infections are treated early, as many are not caught until they have become severe. When treating worms in your cat, it is always important to check the ingredients for effectiveness.