So, a feral kitten showed up at our house about a month ago, and my young kids and I have been feeding it and playing with it, hoping it will stick around and eat some mice. Being a total idiot, I never once thought about worms, even though it had a rather bloated belly. I thought it was just pudgy. Anyway, the kitten was found dead last night. We're not sure what happened, it may have gotten into rat poison in the wood shop, but it may have been worms, I suppose.
All that to say, I think it would be wise to deworm myself and my kids. I have read (thanks to Paul) that Diatomacious Earth can be ingested and is good for deworming. Does anyone have experience with deworming with diatomacious earth (human or animal)? I don't want to give my kids a toxic deworming treatment, but I want to make sure I'm being proactive about this since the cat, you know, dropped dead. Anyone have thoughts on this?
1- It is not usual for a kitten to die suddenly from intestinal worms. Normally worms result in a slow decline with the kitten becoming less active, lethargic, losing interest in eating. If the worms cause an intestinal blockage, the kitten would be vomiting and in severe abdominal pain.
2- The most common intestinal worm in kittens by far is the roundworm. Children can get them via poor hygiene. A common scenario would be for the child to play in an unclearned cat box or in a sandbox where the cat has been pooping, then putting their fingers into their mouth. Another route, though less common, would be where the cat is routinely using the garden for a toilet and the child is picking and eating raw, unwashed vegetables in contact with the soil, such as radishes, carrots, etc.
Roundworms can be serious for some children, though most children only have mild symptoms. But in rare cases they can result in blindness, intestinal blockage, severe allergic reactions, and more. I am not a human physician, but my suggestion would be to have your children tested if you fear that they may have been exposed. The test is simple, a case of submitting a sample of the feces to a lab.
In my 30+ years of veterinary experience, I have never seen DE work sucessfully as a deworming method, though I have had many, many clients try it on their pets. I have no experience with its use in humans.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
Location: Zone 8, Western Oregon
posted 5 years ago
Thank you so much for your response, Su Ba. I didn't think death by worms seemed very probable, because she was her usual perky, hungry self in the morning, and then deceased by evening (we were away during the day and didn't see what happened in the hours between - would an intestinal blockage kill a kitten within 6 hours?). Perhaps the rat poison theory would be more likely.
The children's only exposure would probably have been petting/holding the cat, and then eating without washing hands. The youngest is only a toddler, though, so I can't say for sure what's been in his mouth! I will talk with their doctor and see what he recommends.
Thanks, too, for the comments on DE. I had heard it mentioned, but didn't know if the idea held water. We've used it successfully externally for fleas, though. So do you think the online stories about it working are just hear-say or coincidence?
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