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


Shelly,

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

 

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