What is Profender (emodepside/praziquantel)?
Profender (emodepside/praziquantel) is a single-dose, topical deworming medication for cats. It is the only FDA-approved topical dewormer for cats on the market today that effectively removes adult hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. In addition, unlike many other dewormers, it is also effective against immature stages of roundworms and hookworms. It is the most complete, single dose feline dewormer available.
What are the active ingredients in Profender (emodepside/praziquantel)?
Profender contains two active ingredients: emodepside and praziquantel. Emodepside is an ingredient found only in Profender and is effective against adult and immature stages of roundworms and hookworms. Praziquantel, an ingredient used in several other effective Bayer deworming products, effectively removes tapeworms.
What are the benefits of Profender (emodepside/praziquantel) being a topical application?
Most dewormers for cats have to be given orally in the form of a pill, messy paste or by injection through the skin. As cat owners can attest to, giving oral medications to their cat can be challenging and can even affect the bond they share with their furry family member. This is where Profender (emodepside/praziquantel) really shines. Since it is a topical solution that is applied directly to the skin, there is no pilling required.
What are the size and age requirements for Profender (emodepside/praziquantel)?
Profender comes in three different sizes based on your cat’s weight:
- Small: for cats weighing 2.2-5.5 lbs.
- Medium: for cats weighing 5.5 -11 lbs.
- Large: for cats for weighing 11-17.6 lbs.
Profender (emodepside/praziquantel) can be used on cats and kittens that are at least 8 weeks of age and weigh at least 2.2 lbs. Cats over 17.6 lbs. should be treated with the appropriate combination of tubes. In this situation, talk to your veterinarian for the most appropriate combination of tubes.
How can my cat acquire intestinal worms?
Cats are curious, love to explore, and like to sample just about everything with their mouth. Because of this, they can frequently be at risk for intestinal parasites. There are basically three ways your furry friend can become infected:
- From the environment: Intestinal worms shed lots and lots of eggs into the environment through an animal’s droppings. From there, the eggs are dispersed into the soil, on grass or even in water. Your cat can become infected when she inadvertently ingests these eggs. In addition to this, hookworms can also penetrate your cat’s skin if she happens to be walking or lying down in an area contaminated with them.
- From their mother: If a pregnant cat is infected with worms, she can pass some types of worms to her kittens directly through her milk or by contaminating the immediate surroundings where her kittens live and nurse. This is why kittens are considered to be infected with worms and in need of a deworming protocol early in life.
- From eating other infected animals: Rodents, rabbits, birds, and even insects (like fleas) eat parasite eggs too. However, these animals are known as secondary or intermediate hosts because the ingested eggs do not develop into adults but remain in a dormant intermediate stage. When a cat then consumes one of these critters (ever seen Stella stalking a chipmunk?), the intermediate stage will wake up and grow into an adult worm where it will live in the cat’s intestines.
Phew… my cat is an indoor only cat. So she is not at risk then, right?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Even if your cat never steps a foot outside, she can still be at risk for intestinal worms. Take fleas for example. Fleas can be infected with the intermediate stage of a type of tapeworm that commonly affects cats. If your cat ingests one of these infected fleas, such as when she is grooming herself, she can come down with tapeworms. Fleas can be brought into the house on clothing or by other pets that go outside. Ever seen a cockroach or mouse in your house? Like fleas, they can also carry intermediate stages of worms that can be passed to your cat if eaten.
Only kittens get infected with intestinal worms right?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. While it is true that kittens and younger cats tend to be parasitized more commonly than older cats, cats of any age can become infected with worms. This is especially important for cats that like to venture outdoors and hunt. In fact, one scientific survey found that cats between the ages of one and five were more commonly infected with hookworms and tapeworms than cats under the age of one.1
How would I know if my cat is infected with intestinal parasites?
Because the three types of worms that can cause harm to your cat are all different with their own unique lifecycles and feeding methods, there are a variety of signs or symptoms that your cat may show. The most common signs, however, are typically diarrhea and vomiting. You might even see spaghetti-like worms in your cat’s stool or vomit, or rice-like segments around your cat’s rear end. Weight loss, a bloated belly, coughing, and dehydration are also a possibility. Severe cases with heavy infections can result in death. It is also very important to note that you may not notice any signs at all and your cat may appear perfectly normal despite carrying worms. This is one of the challenges regarding intestinal parasites and the key reason why a veterinarian should examine your cat and perform a fecal exam every year.
How often should I apply Profender (emodepside/praziquantel)?
Profender (emodepside/praziquantel) can be applied once every 30 days. One dose will kill and remove adult tapeworms and adult and immature stages of roundworms and hookworms. Due to your cat’s behavior and environment (going outdoors, hunting, exposure to fleas, etc.), reinfection is always a possibility in which case retreatment may be necessary. Talk to your veterinarian to find out the best course of action.
Is there a time of year where my cat could be more at risk?
Your cat can be at risk of acquiring intestinal worms any time of the year. Many of the eggs released into the environment are very durable and can survive environmental extremes, often spanning a few years. It is important as a cat owner to always be aware and on guard year-round, especially if your cat likes to go outside and hunt. As the weather gets warmer, however, wildlife becomes more active, potentially spreading and dispersing eggs into the environment and increasing the chances of interactions with your cat.
Can my cat pass some of these worms on to me or my children? What are some examples?
The answer is yes. The same roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms that can infect your cat can also infect you. If your cat has intestinal worms, there is a risk of you or other family members becoming infected. The most common way people, especially children, can become infected with these worms is through a contaminated environment. When these microscopic eggs are passed in a pet’s feces, they disperse into the soil, grass and other areas where they can accidentally be ingested. Let’s take a closer look: The eggs of the cat roundworm (Toxoca cati) are especially noteworthy as they can be found in sandboxes or sandy playgrounds. This is because cats that go outdoors think of sand as cat litter. In other words, a sandbox to a cat is a giant litter box. This is especially problematic for children as they often play in the sand, don’t often wash their hands, and frequently put their hands or other objects in their mouth. When these eggs are ingested and begin to grow into adult worms, they typically migrate throughout the body affecting the eyes, liver, brain, and lungs, leading to a condition called Toxocariasis. This is a much more severe condition in children as it can lead to blindness and neurological signs.
While people can acquire hookworms in the same fashion as roundworms, hookworms have another trick up their sleeve. When the eggs of hookworms are released into the environment, they can develop into tiny, miniature mobile worms called larvae. If these larvae come into contact with a person’s bare skin, they can burrow right into it. This condition is called Cutaneous Larval Migrans (CLM) or “creeping eruption.” Once in the skin, the hookworm will burrow around causing intense itching, irritation and raised serpentine tracks. These tracks are actually the path the worm is taking in the skin! Because of this, it is important not to go barefoot or sit on the ground in parks or sand that may be contaminated with animal droppings. Fortunately, after a few weeks or months, this condition typically goes away on its own. In such cases, contact a physician.
While not nearly as common, people can become infected with tapeworms in a similar fashion to that of roundworms and hookworms through the accidental ingestion of infective eggs found in the environment. It is also possible to ingest a tapeworm infected flea without ever knowing it. This can happen through close contact with a pet, such as playing or sleeping, and is more likely to occur in children.