What is Roundworm in Cats, and Can it be Treated?

Have you ever heard of roundworm? Did you know it’s a common infection in cats? Are you worried about your cat contracting this infection, or has your cat already been diagnosed with roundworm? If any of this is true of you, it’s important to learn what you can about roundworm in cats moving forward.

Roundworm in cats

If you have any concerns about your cat’s health or suspect your pet may have a parasite like roundworms, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Roundworms can be easily treated, but it’s important to catch the problem early enough. Read on to learn more.

What are Roundworms in Cats?

Roundworms are a type of parasitic worm that may be anywhere from three to six inches in length when mature. They can be found within a cat’s intestines, and they are common in cats. In fact, most cats will experience a roundworm infection at least once in their lives, but may or may not have any symptoms associated with this problem.

Roundworms are ingested by a cat (or dog) when they are present in soil, grass, and sometimes water. They can then be spread to other pets or even to unborn kittens or puppies. When an infected animal defecates, the eggs of the roundworm are transmitted from the feces into the environment, and the cycle starts again.

What are the Symptoms of Roundworm Infection in Cats?

Pets who are suffering from roundworm in cats may experience symptoms such as having oversized bellies in proportion to the rest of their bodies. They may have frequent vomiting and diarrhea, and they may have a poor appetite because of this. Their coat may look dull instead of shiny, and they could have dandruff or other skin problems at the same time.

Cats who are still young may not grow well if they are suffering from significant roundworms. Cats of any age may also show signs that they have frequent stomachaches, such as drooling or avoiding contact with human family members.

What are the Risks of Roundworm in Cats?

Healthy adult cats are not at a significant risk from roundworms. However, a more severe roundworm infestation in cats can bring on risks such as frequent diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to dehydration. The secondary symptom of dehydration is a much more concerning factor than the roundworms themselves.

With prompt treatment, healthy adult cats almost always recover from roundworms. Young kittens and senior cats who may have health problems may be at risk of severe dehydration and even death if roundworm infections are left without treatment for too long. This condition is most dangerous to kittens.

Which Cats are More Likely to Develop a Roundworm Infection?

Cats who spend time outdoors are considerably more likely to have roundworms than those who are indoor-only cats. Additionally, any cat who goes to a boarding facility or has recently been adopted from a shelter or rescue is at risk of roundworms, too.

If a mother cat has roundworms, it’s likely that her kittens will be born with them or will be given them very early on through the mother’s milk. Finally, cats who have existing health problems are more likely to contract significant roundworm infections when exposed to the eggs in their environments.

How is Roundworm in Cats Diagnosed?

Your vet will require a stool sample from your pet to diagnose roundworm in cats. It’s best if you bring in the sample from home, and make sure it is from the same day or the night before the vet visit. Your vet can give you more information about providing the right type of stool sample for testing.

It does not take very long for vets to recognize roundworm eggs. You should hear back from this test within a day or two at most—and sometimes even earlier.

What are the Best Options for Roundworm in Cats Treatment?

Most cases of roundworms in cats can be treated with deworming medication. Cats should then be kept away from other cats for some time while they shed the worms and their eggs.

It is usually necessary for cats to have a few rounds of dewormer before the infection is fully cleared up. Kittens and nursing mother cats should be given dewormer frequently, whether they have active cases of roundworm at the time or not.

Come to Heart + Paw if Your Pet Has Roundworm in Cats

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about roundworm in cats, you can better recognize this problem in your pet before it gets out of hand. You’ll also be able to understand any treatment options suggested by your vet, and you’ll know when it’s time to take your cat to the vet, too.

Roundworm doesn’t have to be dangerous, but it can be risky if your cat goes on with this type of infection for too long. Prompt vet care is crucial for this and any other health problem you may encounter with your feline friend.

Roundworm in cats can be a very serious condition if it’s not caught and treated in a timely manner. If you think your cat may have roundworms, book an appointment for them at any of our Heart + Paw locations as soon as possible. Our team will be able to confirm if your cat is suffering from these parasites and will make sure they’re put on a proper treatment plan. 


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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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