Do All Kittens Have Worms?
It's not true that all kittens have worms. But unfortunately, the majority of kittens are born with worms that have been passed on from the mother cat. This is especially true if your fur baby's mom was a stray cat living outdoors, or one that wasn't properly taken care of during her pregnancy.
In this post, we are going to take a look at all those "wormy" facts to help you better understand these parasites and how they can affect your new kitten.
How Do Kittens Get Worms?
As we just mentioned, worms are usually passed on to the kittens via the infected mother. She may have picked up the parasite from infected soil, mosquitoes, fleas, rodents (or other prey) and the vomit or feces of an infected animal.
What Types of Worms Can My Kitten Have?
There are three main types of worms your feline friend can suffer from.
Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite found in the feline species. Albeit their name may imply that these parasites are round in appearance, they actually look more like short strands of spaghetti (about 3 to 4 inches in length). Kittens are past the roundworm parasite via the mother's milk.
Hookworms are found in the small intestine of the kittens and are about one inch in length. Hookworms are passed through skin contact with an infected animal, through the feces or through the ingestion of the larvae. This type of worm can be very dangerous to kittens as they feed on the blood in your animal's intestine. This can lead to life-threatening anemia.
Tapeworms are long and flat and can reach lengths from 4 to 28 inches. Cats can become infected with a tapeworm by ingesting an infected flea or rodent. Tapeworm segments resemble grains of rice and can oftentimes be seen in the fur around the cat's anus.
Another type of worm found in cats in the lungworm. This type of parasite is less common but can cause serious issues for a feline infected with the parasite. As the name suggests, this worm lives in the lungs of your cat. It is usually transmitted by an infected slug or snail. And even if your cat doesn't tend to eat this type of prey, birds and rodents do, which can still pass it onto your hunting feline.
What Are the Symptoms of Worms in Cats?
Depending on the type of parasite, the symptoms of worms can vary. However, the most common signs to look out for are;
- Bloated, round pot bellies
- Weight loss
- Bloody stool
- Appearance of worms in a stool or around the anus as with the tapeworm
- Trouble breathing
How is Deworming a Kitten Done?
When you get a new kitten it's always best to bring in a fresh stool sample to your veterinarian. Here they will test for the above mentioned internal parasites. If your vet suspects your kitten may have a hookworm, she/he may also run some blood tests.
Once your kitty doctor has determined the specific type of worm, he/she will prescribe some oral medicine made just for that particular worm. It's never a good idea to try to deworm a kitten without knowing the type of parasite your pet has. For example, tapeworm meds will not kill roundworms etc.
How much does deworming a kitten cost? Check this article to find out!
Dangers of NOT Deworming Your Kitten
If you choose to leave your kitten with any of these internal parasites, your fur baby can suffer from any/all of the above symptoms. In addition, it may not grow properly and it can also become severely anemic which can lead to death. Kittens left with worms can also pass them onto other pets in the home.
Kittens and Worms Conclusion
So, do all kittens have worms? No, but regardless of where you got your kitten from, always bring a stool sample to your vet for testing. Diagnosed early enough, these intestinal parasites are easily eradicated and usually have no adverse or long-term effects on your kitten.
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