June 1, 2009 "Ask Seth"

I recently took my cat to the vet and she said I should give him worm medication because he has fleas. What's the connection?


Dear Seth,

I took my cat Garfield to the vet recently and she said I should give him a medication for worms since he has fleas. What is the connection?

Shelly, Topeka, KS


Cats get tapeworms when they swallow a flea that has already bitten tapeworm larvae. So as a general rule, if there is evidence of fleas it is very likely your cat also has tapeworms.

Initial stages of tapeworm infestation can be difficult to catch on a fecal exam. A larger infestation of tapeworms can be easily seen in the stool and may even be attached to the hairs around the anus. It will look like a piece of rice and is actually filled with tapeworm eggs.

Consult with your vet to determine the best plan to remove the tapeworms. A full fecal exam will detect the presence of other parasites. Other parasites are Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Giardia and Coccidia. Over-the-counter broad spectrum dewormers fail to address all worms. Your vet will know how best to remove your pet’s parasites.


Seth Mayersohn, CVT


Welcome Veterinarians

Pet Assure is the largest veterinary network in the U.S. with over 5,600 veterinarians.

Pet Assure powers DVM Network, a brand built to support our participating veterinary professionals and help them grow their practice.

Visit www.dvmnetwork.com to learn more.