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Worms in kittens.

Species: Cat
Breed: Calico
Age: Less than 3 mon
Hey there,

I just got two 9 week old kittens. They have had their shots but they have not been dewormed and i noticed that they have worms. I have made an appointment for them to get dewormed on Tuesday. Is this too long to wait to have them dewormed? Is their any way that i can treat them with out bringing them to the vet (it is costly and if i can find a way to deworm them at home, i would prefer to do that). Can the worms be passed on to me? How long does it take for worms to die outside of the body? How long will it take for the deworming meds to work? And should i leave the cats confined to a small area until i can get them to the vet/treat them myself? I know this is more then one question but i am desperate.

Thanks,
Kristen + Callie and Sammie (the poor sick kittens)


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi there Kristen! I am just on the road on my way home, so I have pulled over and am responding on my blackberry.

When I get home in about 30 mins I can type u a full response. I can definitely help!

Can you tell me what the worms look like? More like spagetti, rice, or sesame seeds?

Are the cats bright and eating well?

Thanks...I'll be in touch soon.

Dr. Marie



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Customer reply:

Thank you for stopping to take the time to respond. I am very upset and heart broken about this because I just want to give these poor kittens a good home because they have been through so much. I have seen some that look like spaghetti and some that look like rice.

The skinnier cat--Callie is the one that i have seen the worms in. She is very active and playful but is meowing a lot. She is CONSTANTLY eating.

The other kitten--Sammie seems to be a bit more plumb but is a little crabby. The woman that fostered her said that she was the more playful one but i have not seen that yet. She sleeps a lot and she eats but not as often as the other kitten does.


Thanks again.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

OK, I am home now and better able to answer your question!

Although it is not pleasant to know that your kitties have worms it is not an urgent situation and as long as we treat them within the next week or so it should be ok. (It would be a different story if they were not eating, lethargic or sick).

The spaghetti like worms are likely roundworms which are very common in kittens. The rice worms are likely tapeworms which are not as common. Tapeworms have to enter the cat via some type of intermediate host which is usually either a mouse that the cat has eaten or fleas.

It's not too long to wait until Tuesday. However, you may be able to deworm them without visiting the vet. If you live in the US, you can get roundworm and tapeworm meds over the counter at the pet store. Just follow the directions on the label and repeat in 10-14 days. If you are in Canada, only roundworm meds are over the counter so you would need to see your vet for tapeworm meds.

If your vet recently vaccinated the cats they may be able to dispense a roundworm/tapeworm dewormer without actually seeing the cats. However, the pet store products are usually pretty decent.

Once they get the dewormer you should notice them passing worms. The worms should be dead already. The meds usually work within 24 hours.

Can they be passed to you? The tapeworms can only be passed to you if you ingest a flea or mouse that has them - so that is unlikely. In theory roundworms can be passed to you if you somehow ingest stool that has been sitting for a few days. Again, this is unlikely. Wash your hands after changing the litter and change the litter often and you'll be ok.

You shouldn't need to confine your cats at all.

You may also want to look into a good flea treatment for them (if not already done) as fleas are most likely the source of the tapeworms. Most over the counter flea products are NOT reliable and can be toxic. Your vet should be able to dispense Advantage which is very safe and effective.

I hope this helps. Hope they do ok!

Dr. Marie.



Customer reply:

thank you very much for your help. It has put my mind at ease some.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome!
Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.