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Tapeworm in cats: one of the intestinal parasites more common, but much less severe than the well-known heartworm. This is by no means to say that it should be neglected. Together with roundworms, the tapeworm in cats it is one of the most frequent problems that occur in the intestine and for this reason it is good to know it and be on your guard.
First of all let's photograph it: thetapeworm in cats, also called cestode, is a white-cream worm that can reach i 15-60 cm. It affects cats as well as dogs and man himself, it needs an intermediate host and a final one. The final guest is our pet, since we are talking about tapeworm in cats, while the intermediate one… it depends.
It depends on the type of tapeworm we are talking about, the most frequent among cats are the Dipylidium canium and the Taenia taeniaeformis. The first tapeworm in cats it is the most frequent in the domestic cat, let's say, and has fleas as an intermediate host.
In the case of Taenia Taenieformis, the intermediate host are mice, such as those of the countryside, which can be eaten by the cat, especially by the cat that circulates freely in rural areas or cat hunter, which is why this form of tapeworm in cats is less common among cats used to hang out on armchairs and sofas than in lawns.
Tapeworm in cats: life cycle
There tapeworm in cats it comes in the form of flat worms that live in the intestine and feed on what the animal ingests, up to 60 cm. Now let's focus on the type that most affects our indoor or semi-domestic cats, LaTapeworm Dipylidium canium, remembering that it passes through fleas and its life cycle depends on their presence.
When the tapeworm in cats manifests itself, it is positioned in the intestine and has a series of hooks placed at one end, the one that corresponds to the head. With these hooks it attaches to the intestinal wall of the cat, the final host animal, and lays its eggs. It does so by "slipping" them into proglottids which are structures that can be described as sacs.
Joining each other, the various egg sacs of tapeworm in cats they form the segmented body of this parasite. As they are full, these pouches detach from the head of the tapeworm in cats and they go out. The animal emits them together with the feces.
To the naked eye, to the human eye, the proglottids they look like grains of rice, millet seeds, they are white and could even move a little: it is in fact easy for a master observing them to think that they are the tapeworm in cats. In truth, the tapeworm is still inside the animal, unfortunately, and what it sees are "only" the eggs, perhaps future tapeworms, however to be noted and eliminated.
As time passes they turn yellow and dry, when the eggs come out of these bags they end up on the ground, ready to be swallowed by fleas which in turn can be ingested by our cat, once adults. And here the tour begins again. The flea in the intestine carries the tapeworm in cats and the flat worm and "glutton" that weakens our cat is formed again.
Tapeworm in cats: symptoms
We talk about the weakening, in fact the tapeworm in cats more than anything else he has this type of symptoms, he doesn't have big and obvious ones, especially compared to others intestinal parasites, but they are more subtle and progressive, non-aggressive symptoms. Among the most common for tapeworm in cats yes they have diarrhea also intermittent, vomiting, slimming, increased appetite, persistent licking of the anal area due to itching, dull coat.
The increased appetite and weight loss are linked to the fact that the tapeworm in the cat feeds on what he ingests. The loss of hair, or a damaged coat, are instead a consequence ofgeneral weakening. Itching, especially anal, is ultimately due to the movement and release of the parasites themselves.
Tapeworm in cats: diagnosis
Very often to recognize the tapeworm in cats it is his master who notices the eggs, the egg sacs, the proglottids or stuck around the anus or in feces or falls into the kennel where he sleeps. It is not always certain that by proceeding with a fecal examination for enrichment, asking the veterinarian, the result reflects the real situation.
It may happen that the tapeworm in cats is there but is not detected. This is because the proglottids are not eliminated continuously and if the sample taken for the veterinarian does not contain tapeworm eggs in the cat, the result will obviously be negative. A false negative.
Tapeworm in cats: treatment
Caring for the tapeworm in cats it is not difficult, it consists in taking an exterminating product, vermifuge, often based on Praziquantel. It can take place orally, in tablet form, or by injection, or by topical application. In this case it is advisable to consult the veterinarian, from case to case, from cat to cat, from tapeworms tapeworm in cats.
But that's not all: let's not worry, nothing complicated, but given that the animal becomes infested by eating a flea, if we see the tapeworm in cats it means you have or have recently had fleas. It is logical to add an anti-flea to thepesticide indoor. If we have many cats together it goes without saying that the flea treatment should be applied to all, otherwise the tapeworm in cats it passes from animal to animal and we never get rid of it anymore.
Tapeworm in cats: prevention
Knowing now how the tapeworm in cats, the prevention you will imagine consists in keeping the intermediate hosts away. For the taenia taeniformis, being rodents, it is quite simple, but if we talk about fleas, as in the case of tapeworm in cats more common, then the process is more complex
A disinfestation of the environment may be necessary and reassuring, combined with antiparasitic drug therapy, taking into account that the contagion, even between cats and humans, always and only occurs with the ingestion of host animals. For example, if we buy or find a kitten, I recommend doing a 'stool examination contacting the vet and also to be on guard ourselves and open our eyes because, as we have seen, it is often us owners who notice tapeworms in cats.
If we have a cat that goes out often, a nice flea collar and a stool check once or twice a year we can do it, for him and for us, and for us, washing our hands after touching the cat is more than enough, without avoiding pampering him, on the contrary.
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