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Roundworms in Cats: An Overview

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015


Roundworm is a parasitic illness that is caused by an infection with parasites known as ascaridoid nematodes. Of the three types of ascaridoid nematodes, Toxocara canis, Toxocara cati, and Toxascaris leonine, only T. canis can spread to humans. In most cases the roundworms infect the intestines, but in some cases the worms can migrate through the skin and infect the skin and the body. People are most often infected by roundworm when they walk barefoot in areas where dogs defecate.

Symptoms of Roundworms in Cats

Signs of roundworms in cats include poor skin and coat conditions, stunted growth in kittens, a potbellied appearance, and expelled worms in the vomit or feces. In severe cases, roundworms can cause anemia which results in pale gums and lethargy as well as respiratory problems which have the potential to develop into pneumonia.

Diagnosing Roundworm Infection

Roundworm is diagnosed through a fecal test. This test involves taking a sample of the feces and placing it in a solution that causes parasitic eggs to float. The top portion of the solution is then examined under a microscope, and roundworm eggs can be conclusively diagnosed through their unique shape.

Treating Roundworms in Cats

Roundworm is treated through broad spectrum deworming medications. It can be controlled in adult cats through once a month deworming, and it can be controlled in kittens through repeated strategic deworming at regular intervals.

Outlook for Cats Infected by Roundworms

The prognosis for roundworm is excellent. However in some cases kittens can die from a roundworm infection if they carry a high load of the parasites and are not treated in a timely manner.

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