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Dr. John
Dr. John, Small animal veterinarian, ER vet
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1205
Experience:  significant surgical and medicine background, currently working as emergency clinic veterinarian
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I just found a small white worm near my cats anus. What is

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I just found a small white worm near my cats anus. What is it? What should I do about it and what caused it, since she is an indoor cat?

Dr. John :

Thanks for your question. The small white worm is likely a segment of a tapeworm. Tapeworm infestations can start by ingesting a segment of tapeworm or more commonly by ingestion of a flea. Does your cat have any fleas that you are aware of?

Customer:

No know fleas. We have walked her on a leash on our deck twice in the last 2 weeks. Tori has been licking her bottom a fair amount in the last week since we had her outside last wkend. What do we do to treat this and do we have to "treat" the whole house and bedding etc?

Dr. John :

The typical treatment is praziquantel which can be found in pill and injectable form. One treatment will kill the live tapeworms. Fleas should be treated at the same time if found on the pet. Here is a helpful link that provides more information on tapeworms.

Customer:

Do I have to "treat" the house/carpet/bedding for worms... is there a spray? or just wash real well?

Dr. John :

No just clean well, wash your hands, etc, but make sure you do not have fleas present in your home as this will be a constant source for further tapeworms.

Customer:

For this pill do I have to go to our vet on Monday or is it something to be found in a pet store?

Customer:

dO THE WORMS LIVE LONG ON BEDDING OR CARPET?

Dr. John :

I recommend getting this medication from your veterinarian. If your pet was recently seen by your veterinarian they may not require an office visit.

Customer:

Her last visit was for nail clippings, so we'll take her to the vet on Monday, if you don't think this warrents a "special visit" over the wkend. What happens if this was left untreated?

Dr. John :

It depends on the species of tapeworm. The canine tapeworm (which cats get too) is most common form and segments are not infective to people. The less common Taenia species have segments with eggs that are directly infective to people

Dr. John :

The eggs can typically persist in the environment for a long period of time. I would recommend just thorough cleaning to remove any possible contamination in the home (but most segments will have been cleaned up by your cat or left in the litterbox).

Dr. John :

Not likely to warrant a special or emergency visit, although emergency clinics due carry the medication and can get your cat treated. The entire tapeworm is typically killed within a few hours of treatment.

Dr. John :

Left untreated, the worm will continue to leach nutrients from your pet, however tapeworms don't typically cause any serious side effects and I have never known a tapeworm infection to turn fatal.

Dr. John :

I'd still recommend having your pet treated at your earliest convenience.

Customer:

Good to know. Thank you very much for answering all my questions. Sure hope you are a west coast vet to be up this late, chatting with people about concerns for their pets. I think my neighbor has a vet they can go to on Sat. I'll see if we can get Tori in then.

Dr. John :

Good luck with Tori, you are welcome. Unfortunately I am an east coast vet working the overnight weekend shift all weekend :-(

Customer:

Good luck with that... hope you get sleep b4 office time on Monday. Thanks again. XXXXX

Dr. John :

You're welcome. Me too!

Customer:

Good night and good bye.

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