Worming a Pregnant Cat

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About     Signs of worms     Pregnant cat worming schedule     Kitten worming schedule     Cat worming products

Worming a pregnant cat

About

All cats should be on a regular worming schedule regardless of whether they are indoors only or pregnant. Cats can pass on common parasitic worms to their kittens both in-utero and through the milk during nursing, making it essential to ensure a regular worming regime is carried out both during pregnancy and while the mother is nursing her kittens.

There several worms which can infect cats, with Tapeworm, Roundworm, and Hookworm are the most common parasitic worms in cats.

Tapeworm

Transmitted via the bite of a flea carrying the infective tapeworm larvae. The infected flea is ingested when the cat grooms, and once inside the stomach, is broken down releasing the tapeworm larvae.

Roundworms

Transmission of roundworm occurs in several ways; this parasitic worm is very sneaky. Once ingested, most larval heartworms make their way to the small intestine. However, a small number may migrate to other tissues where they encyst and remain dormant. During pregnancy, these encysted roundworm larvae migrate to the mammary glands where they pass into kittens via the mother’s milk.  Puppies can become infected with encysted roundworm larvae which can cross the placental barrier, but there is mixed opinion if this is possible in cats. I always think it is better to assume the worst, that it is possible and treat accordingly.

Hookworms

Transmission occurs when it comes into contact with infective larvae in the environment which can penetrate the skin and migrate to the small intestine. Direct ingestion of infective larvae is another mode of transmission. Canine hookworms can infect kittens by crossing the placenta during pregnancy as well as encysted worms which migrate to the mammary glands during pregnancy. It is not known if these two modes of infection can occur in cats.

There are several other types of worms which can infect cats; an infection commonly occurs during hunting.

How do I know if my cat has worms?

Sometimes you may see evidence of a worm infestation such as spaghetti-like worms in the vomit of cats infected with roundworm. Rice like segments around the anus and in the stool, or sesame seed-like eggs around areas your cat sleeps if your cat has tapeworm. Symptoms of worms can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Poor coat condition
  • Stunted growth (kittens)
  • Pot-bellied appearance

However a lot of the time there are no signs of worms.

An in-house diagnosis can be made by examining a fecal sample for the presence of worm eggs.

Pregnant cat worming schedule

Ideally, a cat should be on monthly or tri-monthly worming preventative medication, unless your veterinarian has indicated otherwise. If you haven’t been worming your cat and she falls pregnant unexpectedly, you can still worm her, but it is important to be aware that not all worming products are safe for pregnant or lactating animals.

A veterinarian can advise on what products are safe to use on a pregnant cat.

The schedule is as follows:

  • During pregnancy – Every 3 weeks
  • Nursing kittens – Every 3 weeks (worming should continue until the kittens have weaned)

Kitten worming schedule

As we previously discussed, encysted worm larvae can travel to the mammary glands and through the milk infecting nursing kittens, and it may be possible infection can also occur in-utero, so it is crucial that not only the mother be wormed but also her kittens. Worm kittens at the following intervals:

  • 2 weeks
  • 4 weeks
  • 6 weeks
  • 8 weeks
  • 12 weeks
  • Then every three months

Only use products that are labelled safe to use on pregnant and nursing cats as well as kittens. Not all worming products will treat all types of worms.

The only active ingredient safe to use on kittens two weeks of age is Fenbendazole (Panacur or Safeguard).

Cat worming products

Advocate/Advantage Multi

(Imidacloprid and Moxidectin)

Spot on (monthly)

Treats: Fleas (adult), roundworms, hookworms,  lungworm and ear mites. Heartworm preventative. Does not treat tapeworm.

Age/pregnant: Kittens + 9 weeks old. Safe use on pregnant and lactating females has not been established.

Aristopet

(Praziquantel  and Pyrantel embolate)

Tablets

Treats: Roundworm, hookworm, and tapeworm.

Can use on:  Kittens + 6 weeks old. Safe to use on pregnant and lactating females.

Excelpet

(Praziquantel and Pyrantel Embolate)

Tablets

Treats: Roundworm, hookworm, and tapeworm.

Can use on: Kittens + 6 weeks old. Safe to use on pregnant and lactating females.

Heartgard

(Ivermectin and Pyrantel)

Chews

Treats: Roundworm, hookworm, heartworm preventative.

Can use on: Kittens + 6 weeks old. Safe to use on pregnant and lactating females.

Milbemax

(Milbemycin Oxime and Praziquantel)

Tablets

Treats: Roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm. Heartworm preventative.

Can use on: Kittens + 6 weeks old and over 500 g. Safe to use on pregnant and lactating females.

Panacur

(Fenbendazole)

Tablets and paste

Treats: Tapeworm (Taenia taeniaeformis species), roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, lungworm, and giardia. Does not treat Dipylidium caninum tapeworm.

Can use on: Kittens + 2 weeks. Safe to use on pregnant and lactating females.

Popantel

(Praziquantel)

Tablets

Treats: Roundworm, hookworm, and tapeworm.

Can use on: Kittens + 6 weeks. Safe to use on pregnant and lactating females.

Profender

(Praziquantel and Emodepside)

Spot on (monthly)

Treats: Roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm, and lungworm.

Can use on: Kittens + 8 weeks. Safe to use on pregnant and lactating females.

Purina Total Care

(Pyrantel embolate and Niclosamide)

Paste and tablets

Treats: Roundworm, hookworm, and tapeworm.

Can use on: Kittens + 6 weeks old. Safe to use on pregnant and lactating females.

Revolution

(Selamectin)

Spot on (monthly)

Treats: Fleas (adult, larvae and eggs), intestinal worms (except tapeworm), lungworm and ear mites. Heartworm preventative. Does not treat tapeworm.

Can use on: Kittens + 6 weeks old. Safe to use on pregnant and lactating females.