Worm treatment for cats targets different worms than a wormer for dogs. While dogs need to be treated for tapeworms and nematodes, worming for cats aims at tape and roundworms.
Roundworms are short and have rounded bodies. They produce microscopic eggs which are shed in the faeces of infected cats, which presents a danger to other cats as they can be eaten by them. Eggs can also be eaten by mice or rats which can infect cats who prey on those rodents.
Roundworms are very common, particularly in young cats and kittens. The most common species are Toxocara catiand Toxascaris leonina. Toxocara cati can be transmitted to kittens through the milk of their mother even if the mother herself is over the infection. This means that practically all kittens are infected with roundworms from a very young age and they all require a worm treatment for cats.
Similar to roundworms, a worm treatment for cats with tapeworms is important to treat the infected cat and protect others. Tapeworms are long, flat and composed of many individual segments. They release mature segments (which contain eggs) into the faeces. These segments sometimes look like grains of rice and are mobile. You can occasionally see them on the hair around the anus of your cat or in the faeces.
Tapeworm worming for cats most commonly treats Dipylidium caninum and Taenia taeniaformis. Eggs of Dipylidium caninum are eaten by flea larvae. This means that flea and tapeworm infections almost always go hand-in-hand. So if your cat requires a flea treatment, she will also need a worm treatment. As Taenia taeniaformis tapeworm eggs are eaten by rodents, cats only become infected with them during hunting. Therefore, infection with this worm is less common but should be expected in any cat that actively hunts.
Can Humans be Infected by Worms?
It is possible for humans to be infected with both Toxocara cati (roundworms) and, very rarely, with Dipylidium caninum (tapeworms). For the latter, you would have to eat an infected flea, which is very unlikely. Toxocara catiinfections are more of a concern, especially for children. Ingestion of eggs may result in migration of the worm larvae through the body. The risks for this are much higher with dog roundworms, however.
Due to the potential human health hazard, and your cat’s health, regular worming of cats is important. It is also important to carefully dispose of litter from litter trays and to disinfect the tray weekly with boiling water.
Worming for Cats: What Should I Use and How Frequently?
Not all worm treatments for cats are equally effective. For the best advice on the type of worming preparation most suitable for your cat, you should seek the help of your local VetEnt vet.
As kittens can be infected with roundworms from a very young age it is important that worming for cats is started early and repeated regularly. Tapeworms are more likely to be a problem in adult cats. At this age less frequent (but still regular) worm treatment is required. Adult cats also require regular worm treatment though this is less frequent than that required for kittens.
A suitable protocol for worm treatment for cats of all ages is:
Kittens 2 weeks - 3 months: 0.5 worming tablets every 2 weeks
Kittens 3 months – 6 months: 1 worming tablet once monthly
Kittens/cats 6 months +: 1 worming tablet every 3 months
Drontal Allwormer dose for cats & kittens:
1 worming tablet per 2 to 4 kg body weight
1 worming tablet for large cats per 6 kg body weight
Important notes on worming for cats.
The precise frequency of a worm treatment for cats depends on likely exposure to tapeworms in particular (e.g. whether fleas are present and whether the cat hunts).
Worm products sold at supermarkets have many ingredients that are ineffective and can sometimes have fatal consequences for our pets. Care is paramount when following the recommended dose. If a cat is given a higher dosage than diagnosed, it can kill her.
As cats can get tapeworms by swallowing an infected flea, flea control is vital around the house.