As a cat owner, it is vital that you remain up-to-date with your pet’s deworming schedule. After all, worms can cause debilitating symptoms in your feline friend and could even kill it.
But what happens if pet owners accidentally give their cats too much dewormer? Perhaps one administered the dewormer and some other family member did the same within a matter of hours.
It is natural to worry about the side effects of too much deworming medication in your kitty’s system.
Here is what you need to know:
I Gave My Cat Too Much Dewormer – The Short Answer
If you have accidentally given too much dewormer to your cat, the symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some cats might experience vomiting or diarrhea while others might not show any symptoms at all. In any case, it is best to consult your vet so they can administer the right treatment or guide you as to what to do.
What Is Deworming Medication Used For?
Deworming medicines are also known as anthelmintics. They get rid of intestinal worms or internal parasites such as tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and pinworms.
Kittens are often born with worms or they acquire worms from the mother’s milk. Adult cats can also get worms from the feces of their littermates or from infected rodents. Fleas can also pass tapeworms to cats when ingested.
The most common cat deworming medication is Pyrantel Pamoate. It works on hookworms, roundworms, and other intestinal parasites in kittens and adult cats.
These worms will reside in your cat’s intestinal tract and start to leech off the food in your cat’s digestive system. This can cause malnutrition in your cat which can be deadly for kittens. Other symptoms can be vomiting, leaking poop everywhere, lack of appetite, and abdominal pain.
Furthermore, these parasites can reproduce in such mass numbers till they form an intestinal blockage in your cat.
This feline deworming medication is available in the form of syrups/liquids, tablets, pills, capsules, chewable treats, etc.
Deworming is the best way to not only eliminate existing intestinal worms but also prevent parasitic infection in both indoor and outdoor cats.
How Long After Deworming My Cat Are The Worms Gone?
There are different kinds of feline dewormers available in the market ranging from natural remedies to prescription dewormers and they all have different methods of killing intestinal worms.
Most dewormer medicines eliminate adult worms as well as their larvae and eggs. On the other hand, some wormers only work on adult worms. Also, one type of dewormer may not eliminate all kinds of worms.
How long it will take for a dewormer to show results depends on the kind of worms your cat has and also the deworming schedule suggested by your vet.
Most vets recommend repeating the deworming dose after 2-4 weeks to ensure getting rid of the newly hatched larvae. In addition, vets might recommend a follow-up exam after 3-4 weeks of treatment to ensure all the worms have been eliminated.
Can Dewormers Make A Cat Sick?
It is extremely unlikely that a dewormer will cause side effects or make your cat sick. Deworming medicine manufacturers test their formulations at different concentrations for different age groups – newborn kittens, juveniles, adults, and senior cats.
Moreover, most deworming products available in the market have a wide dosing margin before one would start noticing any major side effects.
According to the experts at VCA Hospitals, Pyrantel Pamoate, the most common cat dewormer, rarely causes any side effects in treated cats. In rare cases, some cats, when given larger doses of Pyrantel Pamoate developed nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and diarrhea.
It is suggested to administer this medicine with cat food to prevent the above symptoms.
Further, Pyrantel Pamoate is a short-acting medicine so most of the above symptoms won’t last longer than 24 hours.
Having said that; it is important that you discuss this with your vet before administering Pyrantel Pamoate to cats having severe anemia, or liver, or kidney disease.
Correct Dosage For Deworming Cats
The correct dosage for deworming cat worms depends on the cat’s age, weight, and the dewormer you use.
If you opt for Pyrantel Pamoate, then you need to give 2.5 to 5 mg per pound (5 to 10 mg/kg) once. In infected kittens, the dose will need to be repeated every 2-3 weeks until the pet is 3 months old.
If you go for liquid pyrantel pamoate formulation, you need to administer 1 milliliter per 10 pounds of body weight. So, a kitten weighing 5 lb. will need 0.5 ml.
For adult cats, you need to give 10 mg per 1 lb. of body weight. If the cat has an active or severe worm infestation, you need to give the 2nd dose 3 weeks later.
In any case, it is best to discuss the right dosage for your cat with your vet.
Can You Overdose On Dewormers?
It is possible that you could accidentally feed your cat too much dewormer. Too much dewormer medication can be harmful to your cat or kitten and could make them very sick.
When it comes to treating a cat for worms, more does not mean better. You should only follow the dosage as advised by your vet or as mentioned on the product.
Unless your cat has puked out the first pill immediately after administering it, only then should you repeat the dewormer’s dose.
Dewormers provide protection against worms for several weeks. The medicines used in dewormers are designed to starve the worms and kill them. The dead worms are then excreted out in your cat’s poop as lifeless white specks.
Some dewormers do not work right away and take some time to show results. This means that you won’t see dead worms in your cat’s feces right away. However, that does not mean that the medicine is not working.
Just because you do not see any worms in your cat’s poop, does not mean that you have to treat your pet again to another dose. For most cats, one dose every 3 months works well for preventing most types of worms. If your cat is an outdoor cat and scavenges on infected rodents frequently then also you only need to deworm it once every 1-3 months or as advised by your vet.
Anthelmintics like Pyrantel Pamoate purge the worms present in your cat’s gastrointestinal system but once the medicine stops working, new worms might accumulate especially if your cat continues eating infected rodents or items that have worm eggs in them. Over time, your cat is bound to need deworming again. But, as mentioned above, deworming should be only done once every 3 months.
Bottom line: dewormers in the right dosage won’t harm your cat, but too much can make your cat sick resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and other debilitating symptoms. That is why cat owners should not go overboard in administering a dewormer.
What To Expect After Deworming My Cat?
Monitor your cat after you have administered the medicine. If you have given the right dose and provided cat food to your pet, chances are you won’t see any reaction.
In very rare cases, there could be minor symptoms like nausea, lack of appetite, vomiting, etc. but your cat should be back to normal within a few hours. If the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, please call your vet.
Most dewormers like Pyrantel Pamoate start showing results in 2-4 hours. Your cat might have a bowel movement where you might see worms in the feces. You might sometimes see parts of worms in the feces. This is also normal.
Even if you do not see worms, does not mean that the medicine is not working. Worry not: the dewormer is working just fine and will continue providing protection against many types of worms.
How Long Do Cat Deworming Side Effects Last?
It is important to deworm your cat at home where it can be comfortable and where you can monitor it.
Make sure your outdoor cat stays at home for at least 2-4 hours after you have dewormed it. This is the window where side effects could occur. These side effects, while rare, include lethargy, vomiting, drooling, nausea, and diarrhea. If you have also given flea treatment to your cat, then these medicines could also cause similar symptoms.
In the majority of cases, such side effects ease off within a few hours. If the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours or if your cat continues to refuse food or loses weight, then it is important that you contact your vet. She/he might ask for a stool sample to assess the exact cause of the symptoms.
What To Do If I Overdosed My Cat?
Overdose will only occur if your outdoor or indoor cat receives an exceptionally large dose of deworming medicine. It might occur if several family members feed the dewormer on separate occasions to the cat within a matter of hours or days.
If you suspect an overdose, please call your vet or an emergency center. Mention the name of the medicine and the possible number of doses your pet might have received.
Do not forget to mention your cat’s age, breed, and health issues it may have. Your vet might give you instructions on what to do at home or might ask you to bring your cat over for examination.
Watch out for symptoms like vomiting, seizures, lethargy, confusion, abnormal behavior, or tremors. If these are present, rush your pet to the vet immediately.