Dog ate chocolate?

ask a vet

Recommended tapeworm medications for cats

Does your cat have tapeworms? Do you need to know how to get rid of them? In this guide I'll show you how to determine whether your cat has tapeworms and what you need to do to treat them.

How to diagnose tapeworms

Tapeworms can be disgusting to find. When a cat has tapeworms, what happens is that segments of the tapeworm will break off and find their way out to the anus of the cat. If you catch a tapeworm segment when it has just been passed, it will look like a white tiny segment about a few mm wide and a centimeter (or less) long. When they're really fresh they may even be wiggling. However, if the tapeworm has been there for a while, it shrinks a little and can look like a sticky piece of rice. If it's been there a really long time it can fall off of the cat and look like sesame seeds.

If you see things that look like sesame seeds on the floor or bed or where your cat sleeps, then this can be a sign of tapeworms.

In my veterinary office, if I'm not sure if someone is showing me a sesame seed or an actual tapeworm segment, what I will do is soak the segment in saline for a few minutes and crush it between two microscope slides. If it's a tapeworm I'll see tapeworm eggs under the microscope.

It is important to note that a regular fecal flotation test that is run by your vet may not pick up a tapeworm infestation.

How do cats get tapeworms?

The most common way for a cat to get a tapeworm is by eating a mouse that is infected with tapeworms. In order for a cat to be infected, they need to eat what's called an "intermediate host" and that host has to be infected. A cat can't get a tapeworm from just being near another cat or even from eating a tapeworm segment that fell off another cat.

Another way that a cat can get tapeworms is by ingesting a flea that has been infected with tapeworms. This is why many cats with fleas should also be treated for tapeworms as well.

A human cannot catch tapeworms by being in contact with an infected cat. In theory, if you ate an infected mouse or flea you could get tapeworms, but this is extremely rare. I'm not sure if this has actually ever happened before.

Recommended products to treat tapeworms in cats

The first thing that I would suggest if you are suspecting tapeworms is to have your veterinarian examine your cat and prescribe a medication that will help. Your vet will also have a good look for fleas as it is not always easy to determine if fleas are present. Given that many cats with tapeworms actually got the tapeworms from fleas, this is a good thing to do.

In some countries such as Canada, tapeworm medication is prescription. What this means is that you can only get tapeworm medications after seeing your veterinarian. However, in the US, you can buy tapeworm medications without a prescription.

Please know that many dewormers do NOT treat tapeworms

In most cases a single tapeworm treatment is enough. However, if I am treating a cat that is a hunter who is likely to repeatedly eat mice that contain tapeworms, I will often treat every few months to be safe. There is no medication that can be used as a tapeworm preventive.

The most common medication to use for tapeworms in cats is one that contains Praziquantel.

Here are some good medications that work well for treating tapeworms in cats. You can buy these online at Amazon.

Note: I, Dr. Marie, will make a small commission if you purchase from Amazon via one of the above links. Recommendations are not based on commissions. The money earned helps keep this website functioning so I can continue to offer good, honest veterinary advice online.

User Questions about Tapeworms

Here are some questions that Dr. Marie has answered about Tapeworms in cats:

Can I treat tapeworms with strongid?
Are tapeworms contagious to other cats?
Can you give tapeworm and roundworm medicines at the same time?
Can you give tapeworm meds to kittens?
Is praziquantel safe for pregnant animals?
Why does my cat keep getting tapeworms?
Are these tapeworms? (includes photos)

Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.


QUIZ: Is your cat secretly planning to murder you?




ask a vet

Popular questions...

Lump on dog's belly. Hi Dr. Marie I have a 5 year old Cocker Spaniel female - spayed when she was a... (13934 views)

Trouble breathing and died. my beloved cat mr whippy died recently and i am breaking my heart thinking i could... (7864 views)

Dog ate foam padding. Hi Dr, At 9pm last nite Max chewed open an office chair. He managed to swallow... (77306 views)

Skin lesion on gerbil. can you recommend a treatment for what appears to be a hot spot or skin irritation... (6497 views)

Dachshund with seizures. Gina had an episode that looked like a seizure about 1.5 years ago for a first time.... (8019 views)

Can't walk, dehydrated puppy. My puppy is 3 months old. She was left at home with her dogsitter but was obviously... (14781 views)

Submissive urination. I adopted this dog on Thursday. I took him to the vets on Friday and he was checked... (10529 views)

Flea Allergy Hello Shelby has two to three spots that she has been licking and chewing on by... (10415 views)

Rimadyl and kidney problems. On November 24 2010, Trixie got into the neighbors trash. She was vomiting and had... (18334 views)

Do dogs get chicken pox? Hi my dog star has never had skin problems but recently my kids got chicken pox and... (46725 views)

See all questions...

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.