Did my cat's tapeworm medicine fail?
March 22, 2010 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Did my cat's tapeworm medicine fail?

We rescued our cat about a year ago, and she had (among other things) an insane amount of fleas, and worms.

Once I got her vaccinations, all her other infections under control, and finally got rid of the fleas, I decided to get her dewormed, too. Apparently it didn't work. so a couple of months later, when I got her spayed, I also got her re-dewormed.

Last week however, I noticec little sesame looking things on her bedding, so I did research and found out that she had tapeworms. I took a sample of the sesame seeds to the vet. He confirmed that it was indeed a tapeworm problem, and explained that these need a completely different medicine than the usual deworming. He gave my Minni some drops on the back of her neck, and I was sort of excited and expecting for the worms to be gone. However, after two days, I can still see the sesame looking things on her bedding!

Is this normal? I managed to get a second dose of the tapeworm remedy, I think the name Profender (not sure), but I don't want to intoxicate my cat by giving her too much.

What should I expect after she has received the medicine? Do you know if it takes long for it to work? Does the fact that I keep seeing the proglottids mean the medication failed?
posted by Tarumba to Pets & Animals (19 answers total)

My cat suffers from fleas and tapeworms annually. Cats get tapeworms because their eggs are carried by fleas and when you cat licks and bites fleas, they swallow them with the tapeworm eggs.

I think what your vet did was put frontline on your cat for fleas. At least that's what it sounded like (that's the exact procedure for frontline). I can't imagine a few drops of some liquid on their skin isn't going to get deep inside her bowels and kill those tapeworms.

Whenever we've gotten tapeworm medicine for my cat, it has always been a pill we had to give her. couple of days later: no signs of tapeworms at all.
posted by royalsong at 8:42 AM on March 22, 2010

Response by poster: Well, it was specifically something for tapeworms, apparently it's a newish medicine. I know frontilne, we use it every month for fleas. I am jut wondering why I still see the worm fragments, after we used this thing?

Have your vets told you your cat is vulnerable to worms? I can't help but thinking my Mmini has them too often, or maybe I never treated them correctly.

Is yours an indoor cat?

posted by Tarumba at 8:51 AM on March 22, 2010

I got tapeworm meds fro my dog bout 6 weeks ago from the vet, and the tapeworms disappeared. Though now they're back again. Instead of going back to the vet, I went to the pet store, as they now sell a tapeworm med "over-the-counter".

Gonna give it a try tonight. You might need to clean the bedding and the carpets, etc to try to get rid of as many of the flea eggs as you can, otherwise my understanding is that with the flea eggs in the neighborhood, you'll get the tapeworms back, which I suppose is what happened with me and my dog.
posted by franklen at 8:53 AM on March 22, 2010

Best answer: The Profender instructions say you can give a second dose after 30 days if the first dose didn't work.
posted by phoenixy at 8:58 AM on March 22, 2010

Yeah we had the exact same situation. Rescue kitten, brown seed like things on his bedding. I forget what exactly they gave us but it was 2 pills we gave a week apart and it cleared right up.
posted by Captain_Science at 9:04 AM on March 22, 2010

Best answer: oh, cool. I hope the new medicine works then! (It's insanely hard to pill my cat..)

My cat is an indoor cat. I doubt your cat is more vulnerable to worms, unless she's an outdoor cat and not treated for parasites constantly. (also, if she is an outdoor cat.. consider making her an indoor cat. Indoor cats live much longer and with fewer health problems than outdoor cats).

I'd give it some more time before you retreat her. If all else fails: contact your vet and ask him.
posted by royalsong at 9:06 AM on March 22, 2010

Regarding the tapeworm meds you can get at the pet store - I tried some once and it didn't work. My vet later told me it was for a different kind of tapeworms. But I don't remember the name of what I used, so YMMV.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:09 AM on March 22, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you for the instructions! My vet just gave me the tube. I can't find the part were it says I can repeat after 30 days, though.

I will wait for two weeks, and will call the vet if they continue to appear.

Apparently it isn't an instant annihilation of worms, like I thought.
posted by Tarumba at 9:18 AM on March 22, 2010

Response by poster: Oh, she's definitely indoor. But her sister lives next door to us, and she is outdoor and FULL of fleas!
posted by Tarumba at 9:20 AM on March 22, 2010

Response by poster: I try to get as few over the counter meds as possible, since my own vet told me most of those things don't work, plus some of them can be really dangerous as in, they might kill your pet! He particularly mentioned Hartz, apparently thir products kill several thousand kitties a year.
posted by Tarumba at 9:23 AM on March 22, 2010

The 30 days part is under Dosage and Administration, towards the middle of the left column (I would copy and paste but for some reason that's not working for me on the PDF).
posted by phoenixy at 9:28 AM on March 22, 2010

Ugh, tapeworms.

You definitely need to treat the fleas in addition to the worms. And in order to threat the fleas, you have to treat the environment--wash any bedding/linens that the cat is in contact with with hot water, and vacuum all surfaces. Repeat after two weeks. I live in Florida, so fleas/tapeworms have been a frequent problem for us--though expensive at $30 a pop, tradewinds tapeworm tablets have always worked fine for us so long as we simultaneously use them with flea treatments.

If it's any comfort, tapeworms are relatively harmless and you won't get them from your cat unless you eat a flea.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:28 AM on March 22, 2010

Best answer: Well, it was specifically something for tapeworms, apparently it's a newish medicine. I know frontilne, we use it every month for fleas. I am jut wondering why I still see the worm fragments, after we used this thing?

Oh, and frontline doesn't work as well for fleas as it used to. You might try advantage (or, even better because it also has heartworm protection, advantage multi) instead. We've had much better luck with it, in a highly flea-friendly geographic area.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:30 AM on March 22, 2010

A bit off topic from the original discussion, but...

Oh, and frontline doesn't work as well for fleas as it used to.

Just curious... why? Did they change the formula, or have fleas developed a resistance?
posted by reptile at 9:37 AM on March 22, 2010

Best answer: You may also consider trying to boost your cat's immune system, because generally speaking animals with robust immune systems can fight off parasites (including fleas) more easily.

We've never had flea problems with our dogs and cats, even though they have spent time outside, as we feed them more expensive pet food (some folks say dry food is best, others wet) and give them yeast tablets, which seem to fight parasites.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:51 AM on March 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Good old Droncit is really still the drug of choice for tapes. Profender is a great preventative, but it's sometimes not as good as Droncit at treating an actual infestation.
posted by biscotti at 9:57 AM on March 22, 2010

Just curious... why? Did they change the formula, or have fleas developed a resistance?

Rumor has it it's just a resistance issue. The internet doesn't seem to corroborate this, but my vet says she's stopped prescribing frontline. I've seen the difference in effectiveness firsthand; a brief switch to Frontline lead to a really bad flea infestation in my household, when Advantage stopped it within a few days.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:28 PM on March 22, 2010

I battled with tapeworms about three apartments ago. Even though I had indoor-only cats, obviously the fleas there were somehow constantly infested with tapeworms.

I got VERY GOOD at de-flea-ing. I eventually settled on a combination of flea bombs every month, plus Advantage on the cats, and diatomaceous earth (Flea Away) in the carpets, between the mattresses, under the couch cushions, etc. Which sounds severe, and it was, but so was the flea problem.

My vet gave my cats an injection of tapeworm medicine. Yay, no pills! My memory is that it worked almost immediately, and that I stopped seeing tapeworm segments within 2-3 days. I would definitely go back to the vet if I was still seeing them after say a week.
posted by ErikaB at 12:37 PM on March 22, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies! I will definitely look into those yeast tablets KokuRyu is talking about. and also try Advantage for the fleas. I do think she's rather vulnerable for having a less than ideal childhood. Maybe her immune system didn't develop well.

Also, what do you mean by more expensive food? I give her IAMS (dry) and Whiskas Prrrfectly fish (wet). I could afford somerthing better, but what do you recommend?

I do hope Profender works, I hate giving her so much stuff! And I really think my live may be at risk if I try to give her Droncit (a pill). She was fit for exorcism, just with going to the vet and seeing some dogs.
posted by Tarumba at 12:39 PM on March 22, 2010

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