Worm are parasites that can attack cats. There are several types of worms that cats can get, including heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, stomach worms, and tapeworms.
Heartworms are worms that take up residence in the heart and in the arteries that lead to the lungs. They can cause heart and respiratory and failure. There is medication that treats heartworms in dogs, but they can be very difficult to treat in cats.
Hookworms (ancylostoma tubaeforme and ancylostoma braziliense) live in the small intestine. They get their name from their hook-like mouths that attach to the intestinal wall. They feed on the tissue from the intestinal wall and also suck blood from the intestinal wall. Hookworm eggs can be seen in an infected cat’s stool with a microscope but they are not visible to the naked eye.
Roundworms (toxascaris leonina and toxocara cati) also live in the digestive tract. Adult roundworms are white or brown in color and can be several inches long. They may be visible in an infected cat’s stool or vomit. They can cause severe weight loss in cats and a “pot-bellied” appearance.
Stomach worms (Ollanulus tricuspis and Physaloptera) live in a cat’s stomach. Cats can get stomach worms by eating infected insects like crickets and cockroaches. They can also get stomach worms by eating the vomit of infected cats. Symptoms of stomach worms include loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, and lethargy. The eggs of stomach worms can be seen in the stool of infected cats under a microscope, but they are invisible to the naked eye.
Tapeworms (dipylidium) are transmitted when a cat eats infected fleas or rodents. They consist of a head and many small body segments. You can often see tape worm segments around the cat’s anus. They look like grains of rice. Tapeworms can cause vomiting and diarrhea. They also cause itching and discomfort around the anus, and infected cats may “scoot” across the carpet on their bottoms repeatedly in an attempt to relieve the itching.
It should be noted that the condition known as ringworm is not really caused by worms at all. Instead, it is a skin fungus that gets its name from it’s ring-like appearance.
Mother cats with worms can pass them on to their kittens. Cats can contract worms by coming in contact with the feces of infected cats. For instance, cats that share a litter box can pass on worms to each other.
People can get roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms from cats, usually from coming in contact with their feces. People cannot get heartworms from cats, however. To avoid getting worms from your cat, dispose of feces promptly and wash your hands well with soap and water. If your cat shows symptoms of worms, take her to the vet immediately for treatment.
Worms in cats are treated with medication. If you have more than one cat in the home, all should be treated, even if they don’t all have symptoms. Take your cat to the vet at the first sign of a worm infection, because the problem can become serious if not treated promptly.
ThePetCenter. http://www.thepetcenter.com/exa/worms.html. Intestinal Worms in Dogs and Cats.
LoveToKnowCats. http://cats.lovetoknow.com/Symptoms_of_Cat_Worms. Symptoms of Cat Worms.