Tuesday 22 November 2011

How do cats get worms?

I'll tell you how cats get tapeworms. It is a cycle as shown in the image below. Tapeworms are the most common internal parasite in adult cats. They live in the cat's intestine and body segments are passed in feces. You might see them around your cat's bottom.

Both types of tapeworm are transmitted by an intermediate host. One intermediate host is the flea. It has the immature tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum in its intestines. They are ingested by the flea when eating tapeworm eggs. The cat bites or swallows the flea and becomes infested that way.

The other type of tapeworm Taenia taeniaformis is ingested when eating rodents, uncooked meat, raw freshwater fish, and sometimes discarded animal parts.

Life cycle of Dipylidium caninim - diagram copyright Michael at PoC

Selected associated pages:
Photo of flea: by Armed Forces Pest Management Board

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