Ask the vet: Worm medicine does not help

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Marianne Lomberg (BVSc Hons) is ’n veearts wat dit geniet om met mense oor hulle diere te gesels. Stuur jou vrae na

Marianne Lomberg (BVSc Hons) is a veterinarian who enjoys talking to people about their animals. Send your questions to

Marianne Lomberg (BVSc Hons) is een dierenarts die graag met mensen over hun dieren praat. Stuur je vragen naar


Good day

I had a mom and 4 kittens that I rescued from dogs that had already killed two of her babies. 

I fostered them until they were 8 weeks old and then managed to find homes for three of the kittens.

I decided to keep the mother and one kitten as the shelters are all full.  The mother was sterilised and, unfortunately, she came back to me with worms. 

I took the kitten to our local vet and she was treated for a bad case of worms. Since then I have treated her twice, but it has not helped. Her stool is still extremely loose – perhaps as she is licking herself all the time. I also purchased Protexin to put in her water, but nothing has improved.

PLEASE help! What else can I try to do? She has now infected my other two cats and my dogs.

Much appreciated



Dear Barbara

Thank you for giving cats in need a good home!

Unfortunately it sounds as if your kitten may have a slightly different infection, rather than the most common worms. Usually when a good dewormer from a vet doesn't help, and especially when a young animal has very liquid stools, we suspect that there may be another cause. One of the likely causes is an intestinal parasite called giardia, which looks adorable but is anything but!

Image attribution: CDC / Alexander J da Silva, PhD / Melanie Moser, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In this picture from Wikimedia Commons you can see what giardia looks like. It causes nasty, severe intestinal disease, and can easily spread between cats and even to humans in the family. Sometimes an infection with a rarer species of worm, or even a bacterial infection, can cause similar symptoms, but luckily a vet can diagnose all of these by looking at a sample of the kitten's stool under the microscope. It has to be fresh, though, so my suggestion is to take the kitten to the vet so that they can collect the stool and examine it. If it is giardia, the whole household may need treatment, so the sooner the better!

Good luck.


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