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Old 06-18-2005, 03:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default how long do tapeworms live outside a cat's body?

Hi all,

My cat has tapeworms. All the previous posts have been very very helpful. I was just wondering how long do the pieces of the tapeworm (that fall out my cat's butt) stay alive? Or are they alive? I know they carry eggs--so, does this mean I should steam vacuum my apartment, my sheets, anything else that my cat has laid on? My poor cat. He's been acting different lately, I guess it might be the worms.

And, gross. Poor Brutus. He looks like he knows he has something nasty crawling out of his butt.

THanks everyone
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Old 06-18-2005, 04:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think when a cat has tapeworms it is usually because the cat's immune system is slightly compromised. I think probiotics would help. Any competitions against the tapeworms might help though I really am not sure.
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Old 06-18-2005, 05:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The little segments dry up very quickly and then break open to release the eggs. If there are fleas present in your home, then they will eat the tapeworm eggs and the larvae will hatch inside the flea. The cat can be reinfected with the tapeworm by eating the flea. Without something or someone ingesting the intermediate host (the infected flea) the larvae will never develop into an adult tapeworm.
So there is no need to worry about contracting tapeworms by coming into direct contact with the tapeworm segments or eggs. But if you're grossed out thinking about having tapeworm segments all over your house, then for peace of mind, clean away!

Be sure to get the right medication from your vet to take care of the tapeworm, and your cat should be feeling better in no time!
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Old 06-18-2005, 06:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks. The odd thing is that I'm pretty sure my cat has no fleas. He's been on Advantage for the past month (we've only got him from the SPCA shelter about a month ago). I've checked him several times to make sure he doesn't have fleas--and he doesn't. So, how did he get the tapeworm?

I guess I'll find out when we go to the vet.
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Old 06-18-2005, 10:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shengmei
I think when a cat has tapeworms it is usually because the cat's immune system is slightly compromised. I think probiotics would help.
Sorry, this is totally incorrect.

Nell's post is a neat capsule summary how the type of tapeworm most common to cats is transmitted. It should be noted, there are other kinds of tapeworms, some of which are transmitted through raw meat and/or fecal material.

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Old 06-18-2005, 10:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cal4ever0407
So, how did he get the tapeworm? .
He probably already had the tapeworm when you adopted him. The segments aren't released until the tapeworm is mature.

I adopted a cat who had just come out of holding after being picked up as a stray. The shelter dewormed him with Strongid (for roundworms) and gave him a flea bath. The first month he put on weight and grew like crazy. The second month he grew but his weight gain stalled. Also, he vomitted a couple times. At the end of the second month, I found the infamous "grain of rice" crawling on his butt. During the two months, he had no exposure to fleas. So the only conclusion is that he picked up the tapeworm while he was a stray. And Strongid doesn't kill tapeworms.
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Old 06-18-2005, 01:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks timskitties. That makes sense. I've only had him for a month, so he probably already had this. I've noticed some weight loss with Brutus even though he's been eating a lot more than usual. Poor guy. I just feel so sorry for him.
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Old 06-18-2005, 02:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah, I know how it feels. Spending that money on premium cat food only to be feeding a tapeworm!!
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Old 06-19-2005, 01:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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i scheduled an appointment this Tuesday. Now I'm going to have to convince Brutus that putting him in his carrier and to the vet is a good thing.
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Old 06-19-2005, 02:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cal4ever0407
i scheduled an appointment this Tuesday. Now I'm going to have to convince Brutus that putting him in his carrier and to the vet is a good thing.
Well, when you figure out how to do that, could you pass the word along? Because I just can't seem to get it through Miko's head
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