Small size white worm dangling from the anus ??? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Small size white worm dangling from the anus ???

My wife discovered a small size white worm dangling from the anus of our 3½ years female cat. I saw the worm briefly, but after the cat had walked around the room a couple of times, the worm appeared to fall off.

The worm appeared relatively thin (not even ¼ the thickness of a cooked spaghetti noodle, very thin), but it was definitely "moving" and worming it's way around.

Would it be okay for the cat if we cannot get her into a veterinarian until Wednesday morning (is now late Monday night)? I've read that the treatment consists of force feeding a liquid several times over coming weeks? Should I save a stool sample for the veterinarian?

Are there any health hazards to my wife and I, from the cat having recently slept on our bed and such?
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It sounds like a tapeworm segment which isn't life threatening so you can relax. You can't get them from your cat. Cat tapeworms and human tapeworms are mutually exclusive varieties. We can't be infected with cat tapes. Your vet will give your kiddo an injection or a couple of tablets to give (1 now, 1 in a few weeks) to kill off the worms. The big thing to note is that tapeworms are caused by ingesting fleas, so while you are there, you may want to look into a flea control product.
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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She's an indoor cat, without access to garage, crawlspace, anything. She does occasionally locate wood louses or beetles in the basement (finished room) along the edges of the carpet. Perhaps these other insects are related?

She's also been with us for 17 months, so it's weird that this would just happen for the first time now?
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The stool sample is pointless for tapeworms; they can't be diagnosed that way. The nasty liquid you've heard about is for roundworms. It's possible that she was already infected with tapeworms when you got her. If she came from a shelter, they usually only worm for roundworms (around here, anyway.) However, if she wasn't dewormed before you got her, then a stool sample would be a good idea. She may have other species of worms as well as the tapes.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It is possible that she's had them since you got her but, I would think you would have noticed them before this.
Even indoor cats can get fleas. I can testify to that! You can bring them in on your shoe or what have you. All it takes is swallowing one carrier flea and, boom, she's got tapeworms.
If I were you, I would go ahead and treat for fleas even if you think she doesn't have them. If you don't, you may end up having to do the deworming all over again. You can pick up some spot treatment, like Advantage, at your vets.
As Tim said, if she hasn't had a fecal rum recently, it would be a god idea to bring in a stool sample.
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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How long was the worm? Tapeworm segments resemble a grain of rice. So if it was longer than that, it wasn't a tapeworm.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd also go for something like roundworms, not tapeworms. Usually, tapeworms (which are flattish) exit the cat in small segments from the tail end, and look like dried rice stuck in the cat's breeches or on bedding. I've only seen the long head end of a tapeworm once (in vomit), which was an interesting experience....kind of like seeing the dark side of the moon (funny story about that, but I'll spare y'all).

When I was at the shelter (still not used to the past tense), we routinely wormed with Pyrantel for roundworms, hookworms, and pinworms. Two small-ish doses, 10 days apart. We only used Drontal tabs (all of the above, plus tapeworms) if we saw symptoms of tapeworms, mostly because Drontal is expensive enough to be prohibitive if you're talking about hundreds and hundreds of cats.

I wouldn't exactly call pyrantel/Strongid-T "nasty." I accidentally bit through a plastic syringe of the stuff (I was holding it in my mouth and fell off a stepladder) and it wasn't THAT bad. I've held, wrestled, bathed, medicated, snuggled, and dug through the litterboxes of hundreds of cats with worms, and have no worries about my personal health.

Best bet is to get a fresh stool sample to the vet for a fecal flotation and see if anything turns up, and discuss the possibility of running a course of deworming just to be on the safe side. Really, in the grand scheme of things, it's not ridiculously expensive (disclaimer that I've only priced the stuff by the quart...not sure what a vet would charge for two packaged doses).
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I only got to see the "worm" (whatever it was) for about 5 to 10 seconds; when I saw the cat several minutes later after she had made her rounds about the basement, the object had fallen off.

It appeared to be rice grain size, but then again, it appeared part of it was still inside the anus? As I mentioned, it was very thin in diameter.

We've got an appointment for 18:00 tomorrow at our usual clinic, but a different veterinarian than we have seen on previous visits.

It was a big concern, particularly to my wife, that this worm may have been something that could affect us if we had come into contact with it from our bedding or other ways. It seems as though most of you would be of the thought that there is no risk to my health or my wife? We have no children or other mammals; just aquariums.

nanook: What do you mean go ahead and treat for fleas? Treat the cat, or treat the house? If you're saying treat the house, this is going to get scary for kitty's sake. I am on crutches for the next 4 to 6 months and thus relying on my wife to do 98% of things around the house; I even have major trouble getting up and down stairs. The cat had been recently urinating in the basement (second episode of this within 9 months) and the "cat this, cat that" is taking a toll as it is (wife trying to care for me, help me with aquariums, go to work, etc.). I was the one who campaigned to adopt a cat from our local shelter, but now I cannot address these needs as they are arising. I can't even drive a car right now.
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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True: No risk to you or your wife.

If it's a tapeworm, then tapeworms come from fleas. Usually a tapeworm will develop after your cat has eaten a wild animal (bird, mouse, etc) that has fleas.

Since your cat is indoor only either:
a) Your cat has had a tapeworm since before you got it
b) There are mice or some other critters in your house that your cat has snacked on since you got it
c) You tracked in fleas on shoes or clothing and somehow, the cat ate one of those fleas

So, if it's option b or c, your cat should probably be treated for fleas. I wouldn't flea-treat the whole house unless you actually find fleas somewhere.

Nanook recommends treating the cat, just in case...but I think she would agree that you only need to do the house if you think you have a full scale flea infestation.
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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IMO, the description fits a tapeworm segment to a "T" -- and my cats found Strongid to be quite nasty, indeed, and thus their reaction to it (and my reaction to their reaction.)
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