Treatment for Roundworms

Roundworms are quite common in kittens and can be successfully treated.

By J. Veronika Kiklevich, DVM | Posted: Mon Apr 18 00:00:00 PDT 2005

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Q. I have a chance to adopt a rescued Ragdoll kitten, but the problem is that she acquired roundworms from the abandoned mother. The people who have her now are not sure if they're comfortable with the problem. The kitten went through a treatment of Panacurin, back in December, when they first got her. Just recently she tested positive for roundworms once again. This is her second treatment.

I have done a lot of research on roundworms and I'm not sure if I would want to take the cat off their hands if they decide to give her up, which sounds like where they are heading. I found that only the mature worms are killed when treated, because the eggs survive and mature. I also read that the worms/eggs can stay dormant in the host, possibly being released later in life. This concerns me since my mom visits once in a while and brings her cat with her. I live in a small studio apartment and there is no way to keep the two separate, and I would hate to spread the worms to her cat. Also there is the concern of passing the worms to humans.

I would be grateful for any advice or knowledge on the subject. I have been looking for a rescued Ragdoll kitten and would hate to pass this one up if I can get her, but I also don't want to worry about the worms coming back or infesting the house. I'm pretty confused and wish I could get some direct answers. Please help if you can.

A. This sounds like a wonderful opportunity to acquire a wonderful kitty. Perhaps a little clinical perspective will help you with this decision. About 90 percent of the kittens I see are infected with roundworms (also known as ascarids or by their scientific name, Toxocara cati). This is such a common infection in kittens that most veterinarians treat all kittens throughout the first few months of life whether or not the fecal examinations demonstrate eggs. Kittens are infected by ingestion of the stage 2 larvae, which migrate to the mammary glands of queens at the termination of pregnancy. Therefore, kittens are infected from birth. Cats can be infected later in life by eating mice and other small mammals.

You are correct in that the second stage larvae encysted in the tissues of cats cannot be eliminated by routine deworming. The good news is that this stage does not commonly become active in adults and so treating young animals to minimize shedding of the eggs is generally adequate for control. I recommend three treatments on kittens at two- to three-week intervals, to be certain that an effective treatment regime is completed. Because only the dewormers kill the adults, as larval stages mature, it is important to continue the deworming process.

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Treatment for Roundworms

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Reader Comments

janet    Bethlehem, PA

8/3/2012 4:12:59 AM

good article, thanks

janet    bethlehem, PA

3/10/2008 4:38:49 AM

veru interesting thanks for the information

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