Yes, Even Indoor Pets Can Get Worms!
Indoor cats are overall healthier than those allowed to go outside. However, this doesn’t mean they are free from all dangers. Worms are still a danger for indoor cats, thanks mostly to insects who bring them indoors. Here’s what you should know to protect your indoor cat from these pesky parasites.
How do Worms Get Indoors?
Cats are natural hunters and will kill many household pests. However, cockroaches, mice and flies all can carry roundworm eggs, which will pass along to your cat.
Indoor cats can also get parasites from its housemates — including people! Any large animal that goes outside can bring in parasites with the potential to infect your cat. Roundworm or Toxocara cati, are prolific egg producers and are estimated to produce as many as 24,000 eggs per day. So once these worms get indoors, it’s difficult to get rid of them.
Indoor gardeners should also be aware that 15% of commercial potting soil contains roundworm eggs. Cats love to nose around in soil, and can pick up worm eggs in the process.
Which Parts of the Country Have the Highest Risk of Worms?
The Northeast US has the highest prevalence of roundworms than any other part of the country.
Can Humans Be Infected by Worms, Too?
Yes! Cats can transmit their parasites to humans. Children and immune-compromised people, such as cancer patients, people with HIV or AIDS and organ transplants, are more susceptible of being infected with these parasites. 40% of immune-compromised people have a pet at home.
A 2007 study conducted by the CDC proves that almost 14% of the U.S. population is infected with Toxocara – much higher than what was originally thought. This same study states “Although most persons infected with Toxocara have no symptoms the parasite is capable of causing blindness and other systemic illness.”
It is estimated that 3-6 million people in the United States may be infected with Toxocara (roundworm) larva each year.
But Are Worms Really All That Dangerous?
Definitely! All it takes is one adult worm in a cat’s heart to be fatal. Cats that die from heartworm can be clinically normal just one hour before death.
More than 25% of cats with proven heartworm infection, according to their owners, are kept indoors exclusively.
How Can I Prevent Worms
The experts at EMRVC can help you find a worm medicine that fits your cat’s lifestyle. And if you’re worried about budgeting, know that EMRVC offers discounts on many de-worming brands.
Contact us to learn more!
Essex Middle River Veterinary Center provides medical and surgical care for cats and dogs at our animal hospital and veterinary clinic in Essex, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Our services include preventive wellness care exams, vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care. Our state-of-the-art veterinary offices are conveniently located near I-695 where we see pets from Towson, Honeygo, White Marsh, and other neighboring Baltimore areas.