Feline Roundworm Infection
Toxacara Cati is a nematode parasite more commonly known as “roundworm” in cats. It is found in almost every kitten at birth and affects mostly kittens and young cats. It causes a “pot belly” appearance and can you can see adult worms shed in the feces that are long and slender most often described by clients as looking like spaghetti. Toxacara Cati only affects dogs and other cats.
It is transferred through the contact and ingestion of contaminated feces, eating and infected host animal, and through the mammary glands of nursing animals. Most kittens are born with roundworm infections. Most pet stores and breeders will deworm kittens starting at 6 weeks and often every 2 weeks for 3 to 4 treatments.
Transmission to humans is possible through accidentally touching infected feces and then touching the mouth or face or eating without washing hands. According to the CDC this is most important in children who play in or eat dirt, where roundworms can migrate to the eye and cause blindness and damage the retina. Encourage proper hand washing techniques in all individuals in contact with infected pets.
What to Look For in Your Cat
Veterinary Care for Roundworms in Cats
Care from your personal veterinarian should be sought out for diagnostic testing and treatment.
Diagnosis of Roundworms in Cats
Roundworms are diagnosed by bringing a fecal sample into your veterinarian and having them perform a zinc sulfate fecal float. Many times pet owners can see the worms in their pet’s stool (see photo).
Treatment of Roundworms in Cats
There are many treatments including one or more of the following medications. Some medications may be chosen based on concurrent parasite infections.
Common medications may include:
Home Care for Roundworms in Cats
There are several things you can do to keep your cat protected from roundworms. These include: