Tapeworms in Cats

Tapeworms in cats can be manifested by the existence of rice-like segments around the anus of the cat which is a sign that your pet has tapeworms. The common intestinal parasites in cats are the tapeworms. Tapeworms in cats live in the small intestines and vary in length from less than 1 inch and to a foot.

Tapeworms contain both ovaries and testes such that they are capable of reproducing by their own. The main parts of the tapeworm are their head or scolex, a neck and a segmented body known as proglottids. The tapeworm has a ribbon like appearance and is whitish or cream in color. The two most common types of tapeworms in cats are dipylidium canium and taenia taeniaeformis.

The head of the parasite is usually fastened to the wall of the gut of the cat through its hooks and suckers. The worm body has segments that include egg packets. The head of the worm must be destroyed to stop tapeworm infection and prevent worm regeneration.

Tapeworms in cats can be prevented by preventing your cat from hunting or scavenging of rodents, birds as well as rabbits which are potential transmitters. A stringent flea control is also a must since fleas and lice which can be swallowed by a cat can also easily acquire tapeworms. Tapeworms are acquired after the cat ingests the larvae. Tapeworm eggs are ingested through the adult fleas.

When the tapeworms in cats grow, pieces of the worm break off into multiple segments and are scattered into the intestines. The feces of the cat may containt dried white or cream colored segments or pieces of tapeworm. The segments of the tapeworm pieces look like sesame or cucumber seeds which can be easily seen. The segments may cause itching and the cat will respond by licking his or her anus or drag his or her hind quarters against the floor.

The presence of rice-like segments in the anus of your cat signals you to bring your cat to the veterinarian so that the doctor can perform a thorough physical examination of your cat using a fecal sample. The presence of tapeworms in the anal sac or in the feces is a positive indication.

Praziquantal is considered to be one of the best medications for treating tapeworms in cats or in both common species of cat tapeworms. Other reliable treatments are fenbendazole and espiprantal. However, deworming must be combined with the control of fleas and lice to prevent regeneration of the worms.

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