Almost all kittens are born with roundworms passed on from their mother before birth or via the milk. The eggs are passed in faeces and can survive in the soil for several years. These eggs can then re-infect your cat.
Tapeworms have an intermediate host, this means your cat cannot get infected by tapeworm eggs, but instead gets infected by eating the intermediate host. The most common tapeworm that infects cats is carried by the flea – one of the reasons flea prevention is so important. Other tapeworm intermediate hosts include rabbits, rodents and farm animals, so if your cat is a hunter they will be more likely to become infected.
Worms tend to cause no or only mild signs in cats (weight loss, diarrhoea) but high burdens can cause a problem. Roundworms can also infect humans, with the potential to cause damage to major organs including the brain and eye. British tapeworms don’t infect humans but can cause significant problems to their intermediate hosts so control is important to protect the farming community.
The gold standard prevention is to treat against roundworms every month and against tapeworms every six months. This is particularly important in kittens whose growth can be stunted by high worm burdens, and hunting cats especially those living on or near farmland.
The treatments we recommend are a prescription only monthly spot-on preparation – which is active against fleas, roundworms and other parasites and a six-monthly tablet or Spot-On active against tapeworms.
If you only want to treat against worms we supply a prescription only combination roundwormer and tapewormer which should be used monthly. We can provide other treatment on request.