First and foremost, we are sending our purrs, woofs, thoughts, and prayers to Ellen of 15andmeowing, as her dear kitty Sammy gained his angel wings early this week.
We're ready for the next installment of the April A to Z Challenge.
To again give our default recap, for this year's April A to Z Challenge, since I love to write and am working on a series of books, I'm sharing A to Z doodles relating to my stories. Much like my usual doodles and weekly poems, the stories I write are weird, wacky, and star lots of animals. That leads us to today's letter, which is E. So, what does E stand for?
E is for Elizabeth
Elizabeth is the lady in that there doodle. Does she look a little dull or dismal to you? Let's just say Elizabeth may or may not be a ghost. I warned you that things could get weird here. That said, don't worry, because Elizabeth's cat there on the mantle is still her best friend.
Yesterday we discussed the topic of fleas and the importance of using preventatives. We briefly noted on how a flea infestation can lead to a kitty or pup being infected with tapeworms. Today, we are expanding on the topic of these nasty, wormy invaders.
To begin, as we just stated, a tapeworm infestation can be the result of a flea infestation. This is because fleas can carry tapeworm larvae, and when a cat or dog grooms and thereby ingests a carrier flea, that furbaby can then become infested with tapeworms. Fleas are not the only hosts of tapeworms, though. A cat or dog can also become infected by ingesting a rodent, rabbit, or bird that is carrying them. For this reason, some veterinarians will recommend that outdoor cats and dogs remain on tapeworm preventatives regularly, to prevent infestation in the event that a tapeworm host is ingested during a hunt.
Now that we know how a kitty or pup can end up with tapeworms, let's give a brief summary on the signs. One obvious sign that a furbaby has tapeworms is visually seeing it in their feces, or around their anus, or even in an area where they frequent. What you see in the feces of an infected cat or dog are actually segments that break off of a tapeworm, and these segments are perhaps best described as looking like grains of rice. A tapeworm infestation can also lead to gastrointestinal changes, such as loose stool or diarrhea. Other symptoms of tapeworms include a cat or dog scooting their rear end on the floor, to alleviate the itching, irritating sensation of the tapeworm and its segments. In severe cases, such as after a lengthy tapeworm infestation, side effects can include lack of growth or weight loss, or even intestinal blockage as a result of tapeworms.
If you have any concerns that your furbaby might have tapeworms, take your furbaby and a sample of their stool in for your veterinarian to examine. There is the possibility that tapeworms may not shed consistently, and some stool samples may come back as negative even when tapeworms are present in the intestines. This is why it is also important to explain and describe to your veterinarian any signs you have seen, such as tapeworm segments in the feces, scooting, weight loss, and so forth. Though it might sound less than classy, you can also photograph any tapeworm segments you find and show those images to your veterinarian.
These days, treatment for a tapeworm infestation is relatively straight-forward and easy, with the use of parasiticides. Thereafter, prevention is of course also key. Flea preventatives are imperative in ensuring that your furbaby does not become infected with tapeworms by way of fleas. If your cat or dog is often outdoors, and especially if they are known to hunt or ingest wildlife, you can also discuss with your veterinarian giving preventatives more heavily geared toward tapeworms. Tapeworms can hinder your furbaby's ability to thrive, so of course be sure that you understand their risks and do your best to prevent these wormy pests.