Decontaminating Furniture/Carpet Exposed To Cats With Worms

by Shar
(Denver, CO)

Reader Question: How do I decontaminate furniture and carpet exposed to cats with worms

Are there products or processes to clean/rid carpet and fabric that have been exposed to hookworms, tapeworms, and roundworms and their eggs that will not damage the fabric/carpet? I rescued 2 kittens (born and raised outdoors) from Florida and brought them back to my home in Colorado (very dry climate)a week ago (1/08/12). Prior to bringing them here (CO), I had them vet checked (via an in house float screening) in Miami and was told they were clear of hook and round worms after 2 wormings of pyrantel pamote.

I grew up in Miami and was aware that round worms and tapeworms can be difficult to get rid of but I was unfamiliar hookworms. I am keeping the kittens in isolation in a guest bedroom, where they have no contact with my other cats. I am also being extremely careful about hygiene issues when handling the kittens and their litter boxes, food bowls, etc. I wear disposable gloves at all times when handling them, their litter box, bowls, etc., and constantly wipe doorknobs with hand cleaner (alcohol based)as well as frequently wash everything I can with soap & water, and disinfectants. Their used litter liners, litter, etc., are doubled plastic bagged and put into the garbage 2X/day.

Since the kittens still had an upset stomach two days after I arrived back in Co., per my vet's recommendation here (who is not very familiar with worms since we have few in this dry climate), a stool sample was semt off to a lab to rule out giardia. The test relealed no giardia or other parasites but a mild load still for (0-3)ovasites for hookworm. I then treated each kitten with topical Revolution. Then this morning I noticed two tapeworm segments extruding from the male kitten's anus. I understand that Revolution (selamectin) does not treat for tapeworm and am about to treat each kitten with praziquantel.

In the meantime I am extremely worried about having exposed my house to three types of worms--and possibly their air borne eggs. I plan on keeping these kittnes isolated in my current guest room for at least the next 60-90 days. However, I don't know what to do to decontaminate the room--furnishings and carpet during this time and afterwards. How long are air worm eggs viable in a very dry environment? Also, can the eggs of any of these three worms be spread through the circulating air in my
home via my forced air furnace?

I was also considering bringing back the last/3rd kitten of this litter and am now afraid to do so. He will not be as advanced in worming treatments as these. The mother, a stray, is being fed by an elderly neighbor of my family. I had intended to try to have her spay this coming weekend when I am in Miami, but a vet tech recommended against it, since the cat is likely to be pregnant again and heavily loaded with worms and fleas(she was wormed 2X over the last 6 wks.with pyrantel pamote). The tech said due to the worm infestation, the mother could have bleeding problems after the surgery. Assuming the mother cat is pregnant again, I read that Revolution is safe to give to her but is praziquantel?

What started off being what I thought would be a routine kitten rescue has turned into a nightmare.




Vet's response to decontaminating furniture exposed to cats with worms

Hi Shar,

Let’s start with your kittens’ mother first. Both Revolution and praziquantel are safe to use during pregnancy so no worries there. However, I have to respectively disagree with the veterinary technician that you spoke to, not because what she told you was wrong, but because I doubt the cat’s condition is going to improve if she is left on the street. I think that her best chances lie in being caught as soon as possible, treated appropriately for whatever conditions she might be dealing with (including fleas and intestinal parasites), and spayed when she is strong enough to handle the surgery.

Now on to your kittens. Tapeworm and hookworm eggs are not transmitted through the air, so you only have to be concerned about the room where the cats are confined (Well done on the quarantine by the way). Hookworm eggs are not very hardy and should die in a few months even if you don’t do anything to hasten the process (bleach helps but is not appropriate on many indoor surfaces). Tapeworm eggs have to go through an intermediate host (fleas or rodents depending on the type) to be able to infect cats, so as long as you don’t have these in your home, you don’t have an issue there either.

If I were you, I would thoroughly vacuum the area to physically remove as many eggs as possible, and then just make sure that you keep everyone up to date on the fecal screenings and/or prophylactic dewormings per your veterinarian’s recommendations.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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