What are those worms that look like rice in cats? Tapeworms. Every loving and responsible cat owner pays serious attention to the health status of his or her cats.
Any symptom of sickness, infection or disease displayed by a cat is a Serious cause for concern and may leave cat owners panicking with the fear of the unknown. worms that look like rice in cats are a frightening phenomenon for cat owners, especially when seen for the first time.
Worms That Look Like Rice in Cats
Cat worms that looks like rice are some of the things cat owners are likely to encounter in their journey of keeping cats as pets. These rice-looking worms are called Tapeworms. Tapeworms are parasites that commonly infect the intestines of cats.
A veterinary officer, Jessica Nichols, describes Tapeworms as long, white, flat, segmented parasites that possess hook-like mouth parts which they use to attach themselves to the intestinal walls of a cat.
Tapeworms typically shed some parts of their body known as proglottids into the Faeces ( poop ) of an infected cat. These tapeworm parts or segments which are shed into the excretion or faces defecated by an infected cat, look like rice, hence the reason why many cat owners are curious about finding Worms that look like rice in their cats, especially during their first experience.
The tapeworms segments which can be found in the faeces or poop of infected cats are clearly visible and can be seen with the human eyes.
It Is important to know that we have several types of tapeworms that can infect a cat, but the popular types of tapeworms infection suffered by cats are dipylidium caninum, and taenia taeniaeformis.
How do Cats get Infected with Tapeworms?
Tapeworms might be a popular infection cats contract, however, many cat owners are not conversant with how cats get infected by tapeworms, which is why we see a good number of cat owners inquiring about worms that look like rice in cats.
- There are different ways cats can get infected by tapeworms. One of the ways a cat can get infected by tapeworm is when a cat accidentally eats tapeworm larvae, which then grow and develops into tapeworms and infect the intestines of a cat.
- Another way cats get infected with tapeworms is by eating already-infected animals such as mice and rabbits. Ingestion of infected fleas also leads to tapeworm infection in cats. When tapeworms release proglottids into the open environment, which then dry up, and in turn release eggs into the environment which are then ingested by Flea larvae, and subsequently a cat ingests the flea larvae, resulting in tapeworm infection in the intestines.
- Predatory cats, especially outdoor cats can also get tapeworm infection from hunting and eating infected prey such as rats, mice, and other rodents in the environment.
How Do Indoor Cats get Tapeworms?
Indoor cats are also at risk of contracting tapeworm infection. Although indoor cats are in a confined space, they are also liable to get infected by tapeworms which are popularly described as worms that look like rice.
Cats that are always indoors can get infected by tapeworms in several ways, but the most common way indoor cats get infected by tapeworms is by ingesting or eating infected fleas. Even when your cats are regularly indoors, infected Fleas sometimes find their way into your indoor space and are sometimes found by indoor cats that end up eating them.
Sometimes cat owners unknowingly take fleas into their homes from their clothes. Also, fleas sometimes find their way into homes through visitors who unknowingly come in with fleas on them, and some other times, fleas can also get indoors via the body of cats or other pets.
Indoor cats discover these fleas inside their homes and end up eating them, which results in tapeworm infection. It is also important to note that sometimes infected rodents find their way into the homes of indoor cats, these indoor cats sometimes find them and eat them, thereby getting infected by tapeworms.
Can Tapeworms Be Passed From Cats to Humans?
Tapeworm infection on cats has already been established, however, many cat owners are skeptical about tapeworms being passed from cats to humans. In other words, many cat owners want to know if those worms that look like rice in cats can be contagious to human beings.
It is important to know that tapeworms can be passed from cats to humans depending on the specie of the tapeworm. Dipylidium caninum is one of the common types of tapeworms that infect cats and is generally not contagious to human beings and therefore can not be passed from an infected cat to a human being.
On the other hand, we have some other types of tapeworms such as the Echinococcus which is contagious to human beings. A cat infected with the Echinococcus type of tapeworm can pass the infection to humans. This type of tapeworm is harmful to human health.
Causes of Tapeworm Infection in Cats
The primary cause of tapeworm infection in cats is the ingestion of infected fleas. This occurs when a cat directly consumes an infected flea or when a cat eats an infected host such as infected rodents. This finds its way into the bowel of a cat and grows into full-blown tapeworms in the intestines of the cat. Cats owners are expected to be observant of what their cats feed on.
Symptoms of Tapeworm Infection in cats
Aside from physically finding those worms that look like rice in cats, there are other symptoms of tapeworm infection in cats.
Cats infected by tapeworms sometimes display the symptom of tapeworm infection by constantly licking their anus. As a cat owner, when you notice your cat constantly licking the anus, take the cat to see a veterinarian or invite one to examine the cat.
Another symptom of tapeworm infection in cats can be seen when a cat is regularly bitting the anus area or constantly scratching the anus area. Sometimes, infected cats also drag their hind legs across the floor in an attempt to scratch their anus area, this is another symptom of tapeworm infection in cats.
A significant symptom of tapeworm infection in cats is weight loss. When your cat begins to lose weight without any clear explanations, you are advised to see a veterinarian check for tapeworm infection.
The most popular symptom of tapeworm infection in cats is worms that look like rice in the feces of cats. Once you notice any foreign substance in the feces of your cat that looks like grains of rice or seed, please consult a veterinarian as soon as possible to specifically check for tapeworm infection.
How to Treat Tapeworm Infection in Cats
Tapeworm infection in cats is a serious concern for cat owners. There are several types of medications veterinarians employ in the treatment of tapeworms in cats. These types of medications were created to treat tapeworm infection in cats.
These medications for the effective and efficient treatment of tapeworm infection include epsiprantel, praziquantel, and fenbendazole. Dipylidium and taenia which are common types of tapeworm infection in cats are commonly treated with epsiprantel and praziquantel. Fenbendazole is also recommended by veterinarians in some circumstances for the treatment of taenia tapeworms.
However, additional medications for the treatment of fleas are also recommended by veterinarians in some cases as well. In critical cases, where the intestines of an infected cat have suffered severe damage as a result of the tapeworm infection, other medications and procedures are also employed for the treatment of the intestines of the infected cat.
How to Prevent Tapeworms in Cats
Knowing the dangers and the health risk associated with tapeworm infection, many cat owners are interested in understanding and implementing prevention strategies for their cats to prevent tapeworm infection.
Timely and effective deworming is a prominent way of preventing those worms that look like rice in cats.
A cat owner who regularly deworms his or her cat at timely intervals reduces the risk of tapeworm infection.
As a cat owner, Putting your cat on Flea preventatives is another way of preventing your cat from getting infected by tapeworms.
Most importantly, regular visits to veterinarians at appropriate periods are a key factor in preventing tapeworm infection in cats because the veterinarians get to examine the cat and offer preventive measures at the appropriate period when necessary to avoid tapeworm infection in cats.
Should I Quarantine my Cat with Tapeworms?
After discovering worms that look like rice in cats, should such cats be quarantined? Yes, an infected cat should be quarantined to avoid the transfer of the parasite to other cats or pets in the house.
Sometimes an indoor cat can be infected with the variant of tapeworm that is contagious to human beings, so it is advised that such cats be quarantined when confirmed infected by tapeworms. It is important to make sure an infected cat received sufficient care and proper medication or treatment during quarantine.
In situations where as a cat owner, you have other cats or pets indoors with an infected cat, quarantine is a good strategy to reduce the risk of other pets getting infected by tapeworms. It is also important to keep children away from cats infected with tapeworms, which is another reason why quarantining a cat with tapeworms is a wise decision.
How long Does Tapeworm Medicine Take to Work?
The exact duration it takes for tapeworm medicine to work depends on the severity of the tapeworm infection a cat is suffering from. Tapeworm medicine can show the desired result within twenty-four hours to seventy-two hours in a very mild tapeworm infection scenario, while it can take two to three weeks for tapeworm medicine to work efficiently and show desired results in a severe and critical tapeworm infection scenario.
Another determinant factor of how long tapeworm medicine takes to work is the potency of the brand of medicine used in the treatment of the Tapeworm infection in an infected cat. A high-quality potent tapeworm medicine is likely to work faster and better than a low-quality tapeworm medicine.
Furthermore, it is important to diagnose the Tapeworm information on time because Tapeworm medicine is likely to work faster and deliver satisfactory results if administered at the early stage of the Tapeworm infection in a cat, unlike if the tapeworm medicine is administered at an advanced stage of the Tapeworm infection in a cat.
Can Tapeworm Kill a Cat?
Immediately after diagnosing your cat with tapeworm infection, it is wise to commence treatment as soon as possible or better still consult a veterinarian for the treatment of tapeworms in your cat.
Worms that look like rice in cats, which are originally named tapeworms, are less likely to result in a quick death of an infected cat, however, in situations where a cat infected with tapeworm infection is abandoned and left untreated for a long period, the condition can become Fatal, hence leading to the death of the infected cat.
However, as a cat owner, you should pay attention to everything your cat eats daily to avoid tapeworm infection. You should also ensure that preventive measures are put in place to make sure that your cat doesn’t ingest fleas. Also, it is important to keep rodents away, to avoid your cat eating an infected rodent.
A regular check-up at the clinic by a veterinarian is highly recommended to safeguard the well-being of your cat.
Finally, it is important to examine your clothes and that of your visitors to make sure fleas or other infected hosts do not get access to your home via your clothes or that of your visitors.
While tapeworms in cats may seem like a gross and scary topic, it is important to be aware of them and how to prevent them. Tapeworms are easily treated with oral medication, but if left untreated they can cause serious health problems for your cat.
The best way to prevent tapeworms is to keep your cat up-to-date on its vaccinations and regularly check its stool for signs of worms. If you think your cat has tapeworms, contact your veterinarian immediately.