The main signs and symptoms of worms in cats


Since the helminthic diseases in cats are widespread, it is clear the desire of breeders to learn in advance about “guests” in the intestines of their animals. It is generally accepted that the main symptom of parasitic diseases is unbridled appetite and exhaustion, but this is not true for all cases. So on what symptoms of worms in cats can you navigate in cases where you doubt the health of the animal?

General information

So, when can you suspect something is wrong? In fact, everything is rather complicated. If the cat is relatively healthy and physically strong, the presence of its parasites without special analyzes is difficult to “prove”. No clinical signs may not be. A pet may become a little more voracious, and perhaps occasional cases of unjustified diarrhea and / or constipation may be observed. But not more.

It’s another matter when parasites hit kittens or old / weakened cats. Here the clinical signs become much more noticeable. In particular, in animals the appetite changes (increases or decreases), nutritional predilections are distorted. Some cats gladly eat paper, ground from flower pots, gnaw wood and are engaged in other “indecencies”. In kittens, exhaustion develops, the skin and wool cover deteriorates sharply.

Signs of infection with roundworms

This is a very common type of parasites. Among them there are even “heart” worms, living in the aorta, pulmonary arteries and cavities of the heart. Fortunately, such an “exotic” is very rare in our country. Usually, animals become infected with toxocaram. The most common parasites are the Toxocara cati. They are extremely invasive, widely distributed in the external environment, present a certain threat to the health of not only cats, but even humans.

The length of adults can reach 10 cm, but they are usually “more modest” and rarely grow more than 4-5 cm. The color of the tokosar varies from brownish to whitish-yellow, occasionally they can be seen in feces. So in cases where you see some “spaghetti” in the tray of your pet, this certainly indicates the infection of round types of parasitic worms. But, contrary to the popular belief, in the feces they can be found only at a very high degree of helminthic invasion. So how to understand that a cat has worms?

Experts believe that when infecting parasitic nematodes in cats, the following symptoms may appear:

  • Animals (especially kittens) look like a pear: the stomach is constantly swollen, as if the pet just had a dense dinner, but at the same time there are constantly signs of severe exhaustion. Wool from pot-bellied pets becomes stiff, the skin loses its elasticity and feels a little dry to the touch. If you stroke the cat on the chest, you will “vypyutsya” bulging ribs.
  • Regular vomiting.
  • Frequent fluid stools or diarrhea, alternating with cases of “deaf” constipation.
  • Apathy, a painful look, playful before the cat tries to spend as much time as possible, huddled somewhere in the corner.

Migratory nematode larvae also manifest themselves no less vividly. They, hatching in the intestine, break through its wall, reaching the nearest blood vessel, and then, after getting into the general blood stream, go to the lungs (pulmonary forms). There the larvae grow and develop for a couple of weeks, intensively feeding on tissues of long-suffering lungs. This process is accompanied by a strong cough. The probability of development of secondary bacterial infections sharply increases, as a result of which the animal has bronchitis, and then it comes to diffuse pneumonia.

Important! Round worms are especially dangerous because they are able to infect kittens at a time when the last peacefully suck mother’s milk. This is due to the fact that their migrating larvae can be found anywhere, including in the mammary glands of animals.

The animal simply swallows the eggs of the parasite along with contaminated food or water. In addition, some parasitic nematodes use intermediate hosts. If your cat likes to eat grasshoppers, he too is in a high-risk zone. Even mice and rats can also be sources of infection. Fortunately, today there is not one hundred effective drugs that help quickly and with a guarantee to get rid of parasites of this type.

You just need to remember – one processing, as a rule, is not enough. It must be repeated after 10-14 days. This is the time it takes for the larvae to re-enter the intestine from the lungs. But it is almost impossible to destroy worms in the mammary glands or other internal organs.


Separately, this disease should be described, since the symptoms they cause are very severe. Often the pathology leads even to a lethal outcome. His risk increases markedly when the kittens are sick and initially weakened, as well as old animals whose organisms already possess a reduced immune status.

In most cases, cats have nematodes like Ancylostoma braziliense. A distinctive feature of these worms is “invisibility”. They are so small that you can not see parasites with the naked eye. More precisely, their length, even in the adult state, is no more than 1/8 cm, and the bodies are very thin. You can still see them, but for this you need to look very closely at cat feces for a very long time and very carefully, and only a few breeders will do it.

But particularly inclement hookworms are their ability to infect humans. Small larvae, when a person walks the earth with bare feet, pierce the skin of the legs (which, thanks to shoes, is soft in modern people), enter the bloodstream and go towards the organs of the gastrointestinal tract. And these worms feed, already in the intestines, not at all half-digested food masses or mucous membranes (like “decent” helminths), but in blood. If there are many parasites, the animal inevitably develops serious anemia. In small kittens, this factor often causes death. So how do you know if the cat has hookworms?

Features of the clinical picture and pathways of infection

Parasitologists believe that the body of an adult and physically strong cat well resists the action of parasites, but this does not apply to kittens and weakened pets:

  • In feces often appear impurities of blood.
  • The cat always has a loose stool, and with its food everything is in order.
  • When probing the abdomen, the pet shows signs of anxiety, as this action causes him pain.
  • The animal weakens, visible mucous membranes turn pale due to chronic anemia, eyes fall due to general dehydration and extreme exhaustion.

The path of infection is the same as in humans. From the infected feces caught in the external environment, water and wind “pull out” thousands of eggs. From them hatch larvae, waiting for their time in the soil. They stick to the wool and are subsequently swallowed by the animal, or they can show “independence” by first getting into the blood (through the pads of the paws), and then into the organs of the digestive tract.

And the insidiousness of this type of parasite lies in the fact that the larvae that have penetrated into the thickness of the skin can “fall asleep”. Therefore, there are frequent cases of repeated repeated infections, when the owners are forced to repeat the treatment of the pet with antihelminthic drugs almost weekly. A similar situation with the infection of kittens through milk: “dormant” larvae, which are in the mammary glands, wake up and gnaw their way straight to the milk ducts.

Within two or three weeks, the young parasites become adults and start laying eggs. As we already mentioned, in the treatment of the introduction of anthelmintic drugs have to be repeated two to five times. Termination therapy can only be after a positive decision of the veterinarian, who, in turn, will be guided by the results of the analysis of feces.

Diseases of the stomach caused by nematodes

And one more interesting kind of parasitic nematodes is necessary to know the owners of cats. Pathogens known as Physaloptera or Ollanulus tricuspisr cause fizalopterosis. Animals become infected by eating intermediate hosts of the parasite, which may be played by grasshoppers, May beetles and other “fleshy” insects. But some cats (and dogs – even more so) are infected, eating … vomiting sick animals. Worms for a long time can live in the external environment and, having got into the stomach of the new owner, they are arranged with convenience there.

How do you know that a cat has such unusual “guests”? They, unlike other round parasitic worms, from time to time can be regularly seen in the feces of the cat. Worms are not too impressive length (up to 2.5 cm), but they are painted in a whitish color, and therefore are clearly visible in the fecal mass.

Symptoms of infection with worms in cats include the following manifestations:

  • First, vomiting occurs. At first it is rather mild, but soon its attacks become regular and very strong. A sick cat can simply “rinse”.
  • Rapid weight loss. Because of vomiting and severe damage to the stomach, which mucosa feeds on parasites, digestion is disrupted, the pet does not receive the proper amount of energy and nutrients.
  • The cat becomes inactive, prefers to sit more often and do not move again.

It should be noted that Ollulanus tricuspis is rare in our country, but outbreaks are common among animals that are transported (often illegally and without veterinary passports) from other countries. Physaloptera invasions are more common, and are followed from a cat or food by vomiting another infected cat or host food to a parasite. The treatment is quite simple, since almost all drugs effective against round parasitic worms will work. To completely get rid of parasites, only one treatment is enough.

Symptoms of diseases caused by cestodes

Cestodes are banded (flat) worms. In cats, they are much less common than if compared with ascarids, but it does happen. “Classics” is a cucumber tartar, it is also Dipylidium caninum. The path of infection is unusual: the larvae of the parasite enter the body of the new host, when the cat swallows infected fleas. The latter are a kind of “incubators” in which the larvae of the cucumber chain grow to an invasive stage.

Unlike round helminths, cestodes show their presence in the body much more clearly. In particular, the cucumber tsepene because of this and got its name. The fact is that along with the feces a lot of worms come off from the diseased pet. And these segments are very similar to cucumber seeds. In the body of cats, a parasite can grow to half a meter in length.

Symptoms of invasion include:

  • The animal quickly loses weight with a simultaneous deterioration in appetite.
  • In severe cases, “inadequate” behavior of the pet can be observed, since toxins, in a variety of the parasite secreted by the body, cause cerebral edema and can even lead to encephalopathy.
  • Again, with a severe disease, the cat tears, vomiting often reveals large segments of the parasite. They have a width of about a centimeter and are actively stirring, so not to notice them is difficult.

Curing your pet, suffering from “tricks” cucumber tartan, is quite simple. For this purpose, any drug is perfect, in the description of its properties the action against cestodes is indicated. But in order not to repeat the infection, it is necessary to concentrate all forces on combating fleas and their larvae, for which it will be necessary to repeatedly wash with disinfectants even the most remote corners of their home.

Other varieties

But “borage” is not the most dangerous representative of cestodes. What is worse is echinococcus and alveococcus. Adult representatives of these species are microscopic in size worms. Their presence in the animal can be learned only by chance, after a planned analysis of feces. Worse is the larvae. They can “use” the cat not only as a final, but also as an intermediate host. And this means that large cysts filled with liquid and hundreds of scolexes (heads) of the parasite will appear in the internal organs of the sick animal.

Symptoms will depend on where the bubble was formed and what its size is. And if for the elimination of adult helminths of this type it is sufficient to apply once-only any drugs acting on the cestode, then the cysts have to resort to surgical intervention to remove the cat from the body.


This species of parasites stands apart from other helminths. Start with their very unusual “place of residence”: most species prefer to settle in the liver and bile ducts! This is a very unsuitable environment for the lives of other living creatures, as bile – the environment is extremely aggressive from the chemical point of view. The second name of trematodes is flukes. This is due to the presence in many species of powerful mouth and abdominal suckers, due to which they are tightly fixed in the lumen of the bile ducts.

What are the first signs of worms in a cat in this case? They are quite typical: first the pet has problems with digestion. Sometimes the stool becomes so fat (in the literal sense of the word), which resembles a sticky, smelly mass that is hardly washed from the surface of the tray. Why is this happening? Parasites, which have blocked the lumen of the bile ducts, prevent the exit of bile into the intestine. No bile = no digestion of fats. The feces become sticky and greasy.

Subsequently, pain reaction develops when trying to probe the right hypochondrium (as the liver hurts), the feces become very pale (since there is no sterocilin), the animal often develops strong jaundice. The skin turns yellow and all visible mucous membranes.

When such signs appear, the pet should be urgently taken to the veterinarian, since otherwise he may die of cholemia.


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