Have you recently treated your cat for tapeworm, but noticed that he is displaying signs of an infection yet again? There are several possible reasons why the tapeworm infection has come back. Here's a look at those reasons, and what you can do about them.
You may have used the wrong wormer.
Tapeworms are not the only type of worm that cats can get. They can also become infected with several species of roundworms. If you accidentally treated your cat with a drug intended to kill roundworms, this drug may not have killed the tapeworms. Sometimes, it may weaken the worms for a while so your cat stops showing signs of the infection, but then they'll revive a few weeks later.
Make sure you're using a dewormer with the active ingredient "praziquantal." This is the primary drug used to kill tapeworms. If you're not sure whether the medication you used was the right one, talk to your vet. Read the label of the wormer you originally used. It should say how long you must wait between doses. Whether it was the right wormer or not, don't administer a second dose of tapewormer until this time (usually 4 or 6 weeks) has elapsed.
Your cat may have fleas.
Tapeworms are transmitted by fleas. The fleas carry tapeworm eggs, and when your cat eats a flea, the egg hatches into an adult worm in the cat's digestive tract. If your cat has fleas, you can treat the tapeworms again and again – but they'll keep coming back as your cat ingests fleas.
Even if you do not see any fleas on your cat, administer a flea treatment. The type that you squeeze onto the back of the cat's neck – there are several big brands – works well. Then, make sure you're re-applying the flea treatment as often as is recommended on the package to keep fleas at bay. Also, keep worming your cat regularly for a few months, so you can be sure you have the flea and worm problem under control.
If you have used the correct wormer and treated your cat for fleas, but the tapeworms are still an issue, talk to your vet. He or she may administer a stronger dewormer or may recommend additional steps for getting your cat's fleas under control. Fighting fleas and tapeworms is often a process that lasts several months, so don't get discouraged if it's a while before your cat is entirely free of symptoms.
For professional veterinary help, contact a clinic such as Edinburgh Animal Hospital.