The trip to the vet was mostly uneventful. The good news is that tape worms are not contagious…at least not from cat to cat or cat to dog. The other animals would need to have ingested fleas or infected rodents (or other vermin) to get them. Since neither of the dogs or other cats show signs of the tape worms I think we are good to go.
WARNING – some sort of gross animal medical info below (you'll have to be the judge of how sensitive you are – personally I just find it fascinating information, but I know some folks who would be totally grossed out). Read at your own risk!
Also, I learned all about heartworms and how they affect cats and dogs differently. Cats do not need to be tested before going on treatment because they don't get the larvae in the bloodstream problem that dogs can get*. So, that means that I can put Bonnie on Revolution as well without hauling her into the vet first. The stuff is pretty amazing – it is flea, tick, heartworm, ear mite and mange protection. It also kills roundworm and one other intestinal parasite. (But not tape worm, so if you see rice where the animals sleep take them to the vet for a shot!)
Mr. M was a real trooper – he got his annual booster, his 3 year rabies shot, the tape worm shot, and I also had him microchipped. Holy cow the needle they use to insert that is HUGE! Poor guy! And he was so incredibly good about the whole thing – he just bared his teeth and meowed when the chip went in, but he never bit or scratched at anybody!
Last night he was a little lethargic and hung out on the couch with me, but today he seems back to his old self and is off hunting.
*Apparently when dogs get heartworms, they get multiple worms which then reproduce. The larvae are carried in the bloodstream which can be a real problem if a dog is put on treatment and they all die at once. They can clog up the arteries and or the liver or other organs depending on where the little dead ones gather creating other, very serious medical problems. Cats on the other hand, usually just get one worm (why? I have NO idea) and thus their real problem is the fact that they have tiny little hearts so even just one worm can kill them quickly – thus immediate treatment regardless of testing on cats. Also, for whatever reason, the cat test is much less reliable than the dog test that is done.