Hookworms are small, thin nematodes that are approximately 10 to 20 mm in length. They are a common intestinal parasitic worm of dogs, but can also infect cats.
Hookworms live in the small intestine of the cat, attaching themselves to the intestinal wall using teeth like hooks (hence the name) where they feed on the blood and tissue. Blood loss can lead to anaemia, intestinal bleeding, intestinal inflammation, diarrhea and even death.
There are a number of ways cats can become infected with hookworms and it is important to understand the life cycle of hookworms, which will be explained below.
Via the skin (penetration): When a cat comes into contact with an environment infected with hookworm larvae which can penetrate the skin, from their they migrate to the intestine where they mature. This is known as percutaneous infection.
Ingestion: Cats can also become infected by ingesting infective larvae in the environment, during grooming or via contaminated water and food.
In utero: Worm eggs may be passed on from mother to her unborn puppies via the placenta. It hasn’t been established if this is the case with feline hookworms yet.
Transmammary: Again, in dogs, it is possible for hookworm infection to be passed to her puppies via the breast milk. When a dog becomes infected with hookworms most of them migrate to the small intestine. However, some enter other tissues of the body, becoming dormant for years. When the animal becomes pregnant, they migrate to the mammary glands and are passed through the milk. It hasn’t been established if this is the case with cat hookworms yet.
Hookworm eggs are passed into the environment via the cat’s stool. Depending on conditions, within 2 – 5 days these eggs hatch into infective larvae (immature worms) at which time they can infect a passing cat.
Once the cat comes into contact with infective larvae, they travel to the small intestine where they hook onto the wall and mature. When they have reached maturity, they lay hundreds of eggs, which are passed out in the feces. Hookworm eggs can survive for a long period of time in the environment.
Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose hookworm via fecal flotation. A stool sample from your cat is mixed with a liquid solution, any eggs present in the feces float to the top. These are collected and viewed under a microscope to determine the type (hookworm, roundworm etc) and a number of eggs present.
Hookworms are more prevalent in dogs than they are in cats, and when cats do have them, they are more likely to be in smaller numbers. Any worm infestation should be treated immediately. As hookworms feed on the cat’s blood, cats can become anaemic. Adult cats are more resistant to hookworms than kittens.
There are many effective medications to treat hookworms. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend an effective product. Most worming medications come in two forms, either topical which is applied to the skin on the back of the neck or tablet form.
Severely infected kittens may require hospitalisation and blood transfusions to treat anemia.
See end of article for a guide to worming products.
This is a debatable topic and veterinarians seem to vary in their opinion. Generally speaking, it is recommended that you worm your cat from time to time (once or twice a year) as it is possible to transport worm eggs into the house via our shoes. Speak to your own veterinarian if you are unsure if you should worm your indoor only cat.
You can, although they can’t develop into the adult form as they do in cats. The infective larvae are found in the soil or sandy areas such as beaches or children’s sandpits and are able to penetrate the skin. From there they migrate beneath the skin, causing a red, itchy skin eruption. Commonly affected areas are hands, feet, between the toes and buttocks however they can migrate to the eyes, causing blindness. This condition is known as Cutaneous Larva Migrans (also called creeping eruption or ground itch). Hookworm larvae cannot complete their life cycle and die in the epidermis.
http://www.cat-world.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/HookwormMouth.gif234200adminhttp://www.cat-world.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/header-object-300x70.pngadmin2017-06-02 01:17:322017-06-09 03:08:01Hookworms in Cats