Gastrointestinal Parasites That Feed on Your Cat

Poor little Princess. Your sweet little cat hasn’t eaten normally in several days, and her coat looks pretty dull, too. Princess has also been suffering frequent bouts of diarrhea and vomiting, which means you’re dodging foul-smelling piles when you walk through your house. Since Princess has been in distress for several days, you suspect a nasty parasite has gotten a firm grip on your kitty’s gastrointestinal system. In fact, up to 45 percent of cats contract these unpleasant ailments. You don’t want Princess to become dehydrated, opening the door to a bacterial or viral infection, so you’re taking her to your Farmington Hills veterinarian tomorrow.



Perhaps you see small curly spaghetti-like pieces in Princess’ litter box. These small bits probably indicate a case of roundworms, which grow to several inches in length. While you thought Princess had discerning taste, she likely contracted the roundworms by eating infected feline feces or scarfing down an infected mouse. Too many roundworms can block Princess’ intestines, leading to life-threatening complications.



Hookworms resemble roundworms, but are much smaller. Ravenous hookworms feast on blood in Princess’ small intestine, frequently resulting in severe anemia. While hookworm infestations are less common than roundworms, if Princess does encounter these little blood suckers, they can live as long as she does.



If you see small rice-shaped pieces in Princess’ droppings, she hasn’t ingested an entire plate of cooked white rice. Princess has probably gotten a good (or bad) case of tapeworms, which she probably contracted by swallowing an infected flea while licking and grooming herself.



Also, be on the alert for whipworms, although cats don’t often harbor this parasite. If Princess happens to attract some adult whipworms, they’ll take up residence in her large intestine, but shouldn’t cause her serious problems.


Microscopic Protozoa

You’ve probably heard of giardia, and perhaps coccidia, tiny gut protozoa that can wreak havoc on Princess’ intestinal system. While there’s a slight chance you can get giardia by handling Princess’ infected poops, a pair of good protective gloves should keep you parasite free while you maintain Princess’ litter box.


Good thing your Farmington Hills vet and his technicians are parasite detection experts. To find the culprits, these pet poop detectives will stir up a bit of Princess’ feces with a special solution that highlights parasitic eggs. Once your vet identifies the offending parasite, he’ll give Princess the specific dewormer that banishes the bug.

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