There are many types of deworming medications available over the counter for you to give your cat to rid her of intestinal worms, but before you purchase any, speak with your veterinarian. That's because some of these medications may not target the specific types of worms your cat has and may not be the best choice for her.
Before treating your cat, you need to have an idea of the types of worms from which she is suffering so you can choose one that targets those specific worms or use a broad-spectrum dewormer that eliminates several types of worms at once. Your veterinarian can perform tests on your cat to determine which worms she has and which medications would be the best choice.
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Over-the-counter medicine for worms
While some deworming medications require a prescription from your veterinarian, others are freely available at pet supply stores. Your vet can recommend the best one. These medications contain ingredients that kill the three most common types of intestinal worms, including roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms.
Your cat may encounter these pests from fleas, worm eggs in the soil, infected small rodents, or even through the mother's milk. Other types of worms, like whipworms and stomach worms, are much less common, and your veterinarian will perform tests to let you know how to treat them.
Over-the-counter tapeworm medicine for cats
One of the most common types of intestinal worms to affect cats is the tapeworm. These pests are transmitted when your kitty eats an infected flea. To rid your cat of tapeworms, look for oral medications containing praziquantel. Praziquantel is safe for cats and kittens who are at least 6 weeks of age. The medication starts killing the tapeworms in your cat's system within 24 hours.
To control tapeworm infestations, you should also eliminate the fleas in your cat's environment by thoroughly washing the cat's bedding and vacuuming your home. You'll also need to treat your cat with an additional flea medication so that she won't become reinfected with tapeworms.
Roundworm treatment for cats over the counter
If your cat is suffering from roundworms, look for an over-the-counter medication that contains piperazine. This medication is found in both tablet and liquid form that you give to your cat orally. Piperazine paralyzes the roundworms in your cat's system and allows your cat to simply pass the worms through his stool.
After the initial treatment, you may need to retreat your cat within 30 days to get rid of any newly developed roundworms that may have remained in his system. This medication is typically considered safe for kittens over 6 weeks of age who weigh at least 2 pounds.
Broad-spectrum cat deworming medications
Over-the-counter medications containing praziquantel/pyrantel pamoate will paralyze, dissolve, and allow your cat to pass tapeworms, large roundworms, and hookworms. This makes these broad-spectrum dewormers the best choice if your cat is suffering from more than one type of intestinal parasite. These medications are safe for kittens who are at least 2 months old and who weigh at least 2 pounds.
Prescription cat deworming medications
Your veterinarian may recommend a prescription deworming medication for your cat as the best choice for her. These medications may be broader-spectrum than those available over the counter or safer for your cat to take. Many are also simple to apply to the skin between your cat's shoulder blades, making them a better choice than oral medications if your cat refuses to take those.
Some prescription medications include imidacloprid and moxidectin in a topical formulation that kills hookworms, roundworms, ear mites, fleas, and heartworms. It's safe for kittens over 9 weeks old who weight at least 2 pounds. Selamectin is a different topical prescription medication that does the same thing. You can give it to kittens older than 8 weeks of age.
Another topical solution available with a prescription is Profender, which kills roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. It's safe for kittens over 8 weeks old and heavier than 2.2 pounds in size.
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