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One of my cats just coughed up a worm. Looked like dried…

Customer Question
One of my cats...

One of my cats just coughed up a long worm. Looked like dried spaghetti .what do i do?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Cats have coughing problems all the time but it is worrying. The Expert will know what you should do. What is the cat's name and age?

6 mths. Bandi.

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about your cat?

No. Good boy. Mild mannered.

Submitted: 9 months ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
9/16/2017
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 9 months ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18,587
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 9 months ago

I am sorry to hear about Bandi coughing up a worm. Of course this would be cause for concern.

Cat lungworms are pretty small and hard to see with the naked eye. They are much less common than some of the other, larger worms we see. They are treated with he dewormer fenbendazole (Panacur).

Did the worm look like this?

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS77Gmn-JRT-b8Im7vo4iTTnAqkqmAkEaf22RCASvhlh90b_OMG

If so that is a roundworm. They are long, smooth white/tan spaghetti worms but can have red streaks in their gastrointestinal tract. They are transmitted by walking through stool contaminated with eggs and then licking their paws. The worm eggs are eaten, they hatch out in the gastrointestinal tract and then migrate through the cat's tissues. They can end up encysted in muscle or in the lungs where they are coughed up and usually swallowed. They fully mature in the gut and then pass eggs in the stoll to start the cycle all over. They are easily treated with a medication called pyrantel or a monthly flea/heartworm/wormer like Revolution. These are passed from pet to pet via eggs in the stool so if you have other cats and they all share a litter box it is possible that they could pick them up from him. Most adult cats don't have much of an effect from roundworms but you may wish to treat all your kitties. Cats can vomit adult roundworms too from time to time and if the worm that you saw looked like that, that is likely what it was.

Or did it look more like this?

http://www.stanford.edu/class/humbio103/ParaSites2006/Dipylidiasis/Adult%20form.JPG

If so this is a tapeworm.

These can be vomited or come out of the anus with or without stool, will wiggle and move a little. They can come out as single small segments which can stretch or in several packets together which make a longer segmented worm-like piece. These small, grains of rice type worms are tapeworm egg packets. Tapeworms are picked up by eating an infected flea or rodent. Sometimes we see them stuck on the hair coat around the anus. They cannot be passed directly from one animal to another, they need to be ingested by the intermediate host (flea or rodent) and then when the intermediate host is eaten they get infected. So if your kitty has tapeworms they cannot be passed to your other pets. But if you don't get rid of all the fleas or if Chippy is a hunter he will continue to reinfest himself. They are easily treated with a medication called Praziquantal. Here is a link to a product with Praziquantal that you can purchase over the counter:

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2754523

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
Its thefirst picture. I have been using a flea product on them but isnt working. So so i can switch to revolution then. Even though they have these worms without giving him something for it.(worms).
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 9 months ago

It sounds like your kitty has roundworms then.

Revolution is effective in cats for heartworm, flea, hookworm and roundworm control so yes, you can use it for roundworms without the need to use an additional wormer.

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
i did what u said and bought the revolution and used it and Bandi died this evening about 7:05. Was a terrible night.
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 9 months ago

My deepest condolences on your loss, I can only imagine how horrible all of this is for you, especially given how young he was.

Young cats do not die from a roundworm infection, and Revolution is a relatively safe product. Rarely we see some cats with a loss of appetite and some get a skin reaction (like an allergic reaction) to the product, but I have never had a patient pass away.

I can only think that there was an undiagnosed congenital defect (heart disease perhaps) or he was exposed to an unknown toxin that caused his death. Nothing else makes sense.

You might choose to have a necropsy done (like an autopsy on a person) to try to determine why he died so suddenly. It won't change things, but it may give you peace. And if they find evidence of a toxin ingestion that would be important for your other cats.

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