A Cat Clinic

Gastrointestinal parasites in cats: Eww, does my cat have worms??!

Posted May 24, 2017 by Dr. Melissa Mustillo.

Did you know that your indoor cat can develop intestinal parasites? The risk of gastrointestinal parasites in cats increases if you let your cat sit on a patio, deck, porch, or spend a few minutes enjoying some time in the grass. Your cat loves to dig in your potted plants?  No big deal, right?  Well, read on.

What are “gastrointestinal parasites” anyway?

Gastrointestinal parasites are living organisms that live inside an animal’s body and get nutrients from that body. Parasites that commonly affect cats in central Maryland include roundworms, tapeworms, giardia, and coccidia.  Cats develop these parasites after they eat an egg or cyst.  Luckily most of these parasites are easy to diagnose from a stool sample, and we have safe medications to easily treat these parasites.

But how can my indoor cat develop parasites in the first place?

So what can we do to keep our cats safe?

“I don’t see any worms in my cat’s stool, so he can’t have worms.  There’s no need to test him.”  We hear this all the time, but if you really want to keep your cat parasite-free, follow these suggestions.

One last important note is that many gastrointestinal parasites of cats can be transmitted to humans. This is just one more reason to be proactive with parasite control and vigilant with yearly fecal screening.

If you do not live in central Maryland (and even if you do), you can check out the CDC website for information about other parasites that might be in your area.

If you live in Germantown, Boyds, Clarksburg Gaithersburg, Rockville or surrounding communities in Montgomery County, Maryland, and would like to discuss parasite prevention with one of our doctors, contact us to schedule an appointment today. Let us help make sure your cat is free of those nasty worms!

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