Help me help my kittehs.
June 13, 2011 9:12 PM   Subscribe

My two kittens have ear mites, for which they were treated today at the vet, by the vet, with Revolution. They also received their first vaccines today. This evening, one of them coughed up a two inch thin, worm-like thing which scared the crap out of me as it coiled up around itself. Is the worm perhaps die-off from the Revolution?

I'm making another appointment for them tomorrow. Also, should I bring them both in? Are worms contagious to each other?

Thank you! (I am feeling like jumping out of my skin right now between ear mites and worms...this is not good for a germaphobe such as myself egads.)
posted by DeltaForce to Pets & Animals (19 answers total)
Oh no, after looking it up really looks like a heart worm. Freaking out now...Can this wait until morning?
posted by DeltaForce at 9:21 PM on June 13, 2011

What did the worm look like? In my horrifying worm experience, the cats had white, rice-like worms coming out of their butts -- maybe your cat licked its butt, got the worm on its tongue and then spit it out? At any rate, yes, take them both in tomorrow because whatever's' going on they most likely both have it.

But also -- this isn't too big a deal, especially since you're seeking vet care. It's really typical of kittens to have this stuff going on, particularly if they're coming out of the pound or a rescue situation. Make sure you're washing your hands well, and if you have small kids, I'd keep them away from the cats tonight until you get this all squared away.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:23 PM on June 13, 2011

Sounds like roundworms to me (and gosh, yes, they are gross). According to the page I linked, Revolution is a treatment, though when I have seen kittens with roundworms, they threw those suckers up before being treated with anything.

I don't think you need to make a new appointment--I would just call and talk with the vet's office, and I'll bet they'll tell you that the kittens have been "wormed" and to just repeat the protocol in a month or so.
posted by thebrokedown at 9:24 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, Don't Panic! I think it will all turn out fine. And, We Need Pictures! (Of the babies, not the worms, blech.)
posted by thebrokedown at 9:26 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh no, after looking it up really looks like a heart worm.

It's quite unlikely to be a heart worm, don't freak out too much; worms are all pretty similar let's face it.
posted by smoke at 9:28 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

One of them (not the one who coughed up the worm) tends to eat A LOT and also has a distended tummy most of the time (if that's relevant.)

Here are the babies (Excuse me while I gosh over their cuteness)

Cookie (aka Cthula)

Cookie and her bottle
Cookie and Tiger
Tiger looking really comfy (and well-read)
posted by DeltaForce at 9:36 PM on June 13, 2011 [9 favorites]

They're being dewormed. Just talk to the vet like people said and maybe you saved the worm? Gross, I know, but not a bad idea. There are multiple kinds of dewormers that kill multiple kitten parasites. The vet will slam dunk this esp. if you show them the worm.

You have to eat the worm or egg for it to spread, btw. So you're not going to get it by just touching it. Wash your hands afterward. Keep the kittens quarantined (together is fine, they're both being treated and prob have the same stuff anyway).

Distended bellies on kittens are pretty normal, though can indicate worms. They're so tiny that eating has to go somewhere, the little piglets.

posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:38 PM on June 13, 2011

By quarantined, I mean keep them away from other pets or small children who would touch the cat then put their hands in their mouth.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:38 PM on June 13, 2011

No way it's a heartworm. Probably a roundworm as suggested above, extremely common, especially puppies/kittens.
Heartworms DO look like roundworms, cause they are a type of roundworm, but they live in the circulatory system and wouldn't be coughed up ever. Also too early in the kitten's life for a heartworm anyway.
Brace yourself, you may see quite a few more worms while the medicine does it's job ...
posted by bebrave! at 9:53 PM on June 13, 2011

Oh, and by the way ...
It's no emergency. Unless something else is wrong with them don't even bother taking back to the vet for a coughed/puked-up worm.
And I forgot also to praise their cuteness!
posted by bebrave! at 9:58 PM on June 13, 2011

A kitten (less than six months old) is going to have next to no chance of having heartworms. Also they live in the heart and don't get puked up. Intestinal parasites, however, are hell of likely in kittens and are often puked up following a deworming treatment. They'll be fine!
posted by troublewithwolves at 10:18 PM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

Yep, you'll be seeing more worms as the medicine goes to work. They can come out of either end. Gross, but better out than in! :)
posted by The otter lady at 11:35 PM on June 13, 2011

That sounds like roundworms

Even though this is probably normal for the situation, it's not a bad idea to call the vet and make sure. On the outside, sometimes vets miss things and it doesn't hurt to be absolutely certain you're on the same page.
posted by batmonkey at 2:16 AM on June 14, 2011

Having had kittens with worms all I can say is make sure that you change their litter at least daily and don't let any other cats use that litter box. Worms are very easily spread amongst cats.

And, OMG so cute.
posted by chosemerveilleux at 3:15 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Heartworms are normally found in the cardiovascular system, not the GI tract (although cats can and do get heartworm infestations, it is unlikely that your cat vomited a heartworm, roundworms are more likely). Did your vet deworm the kitties with a broad-spectrum dewormer? Revolution can treat mites and prevent infestations of some parasites, but is not a broad-spectrum dewormer. I would take the worm in to the vet's office and get a technician to identify it for you, they can probably also give you doses of Pyrantel or something similar for the kittens (kittens usually need to be dewormed several times since we can only kill certain life stages of the worms).
posted by biscotti at 5:39 AM on June 14, 2011

To clarify what some misinformation in the thread.

Coughing up a worm does not necessarily mean that the vet has treated them and this expulsion is the result of that treatment. Untreated cats with roundworms can cough them up as well, and it's possible that the timing is a coincidence. These are nasty and gross and you don't want to assume anything here, so you do need to talk to your vet.

Any cat that shares the same litter box are at risk of infection, so they all need to be treated.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 7:44 AM on June 14, 2011

Jeez, you should warn people about those pics, some of us are allergic to that much cuteness. (I keed, they are adorable in the extreme.)
posted by theora55 at 10:05 AM on June 14, 2011

OMG KITTEHS, ahem, very cute cats. The worms will be taken care of by the Revolution. As for butt worms, they are tapeworms and although gross, generally benign. So much so that my old vet (a large animal vet) thought treating them did more harm then good. But then most of the cats he knew lived in barns. So listen to your vet.
posted by fifilaru at 2:30 PM on June 14, 2011

Thanks for the responses everyone! I called my vet this morning, and was told that yes, the Revolution will take care of the worms. They are scheduled for a second visit for their second round of vaccines as well as a second dose of Revolution for the ear mites.

I'll also be vigilant about changing their litter. Normally I just clean it, but I will be using litter box liners and using fresh litter several times a week.

Thanks again, I'll pass your praises on to the wee ones!
posted by DeltaForce at 10:06 PM on June 14, 2011

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