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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 16303
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I have taken in a very thin stray cat yesterday. It seems

Resolved Question:

I have taken in a very thin stray cat yesterday. It seems very hungry. It has just passed along with its faeces a long worm like thing about 7 inches long and with a hook at one end. It appears to be dead. what is it and what is the best treatment? Thank you Kim
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help with your concerns about your stray kitty and the worm that it passed.

The only two worms that cats have and are visible to the naked eye are round worms (which look like spaghetti and can be 3 to 6 inches in length) and tapeworms (which can be very long and segmented or passed in small rice size packets).

Roundworms are long, smooth white/tan spaghetti worms. They are transmitted by walking through stool contaminated with eggs and then licking their paws. They are easily treated with a medication called pyrantel pamoate or a monthly flea/heartworm/wormer like Revolution. You can purchase pyrantel at petstores or online. Most adult cats don't have much of an effect from roundworms but in large numbers they can cause a cat to be thin or lead to an intestinal blockage. Cats can vomit adult roundworms or pass them in their stools from time to time and if the worm that you saw looked like these that is likely what it was.

Tapeworms can 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 this stray kitty has tapeworms they cannot be passed to your other pets. But if she has fleas and you don't get rid of all the fleas or if she is a hunter she will continue to reinfest herself. 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

Here are some links to see pictures of each worm.
1)Roundworm picture:
http://www.valleyveterinarygroup.com/cms_media/images/roundworm.jpeg

2)Tapeworm picture:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9d/Dipyl_can_worm1.JPG

Best of luck with your little one, please let me know if you have any further questions.
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