Hookworms In Cats: What Should You Know About It?

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Ancylostoma hookworms in cats are parasites, which may inhabit, invade, and live in the small intestines of cats. The certain hookworms, which infect cats are the Ancylostoma tubaeforme and Ancylostoma ceylanicum worms. In the 4th stage of the larvae, the parasites may cause inflammation on the small intestine, as well as anemia. The active worms may leave bite sites –these sites may continue to leach blood on the lesion site. The internal infestation may also result in the intestinal blood loss. The infestation may result in the intestinal blood loss as well. Get to learn more about this feline condition, read on to this article.

Hookworms in Cats: What is this feline condition?

The hookworms in cats may cause inflammation in the small intestine, bleeding, internal blood loss, and anemia. Due to these, the hookworms may be fatal when left without any treatments. Furthermore, the fatalities are most typical in the young kittens.

Moreover, ancylostoma hookworms are tiny, thread-like parasites, which attach themselves to small intestines’ walls, feeding on the host’s blood. Both the Ancylostoma tubaeforme and Ancylostoma ceylanicum worms are well-known to cause invasion in cats. The hookworms are somewhat common, thus infecting about 10-60% of all the cats at some time in their own lives.

Causes of Cat Hookworms

The eggs of the hookworms are being passed through the stool where they hatch and become larva. The cats start to become infected with the larva, either via skin contact with a stool of an infected cat on the litterbox, ground, or sand, via the ingestion of some other animals, which are infected with the hookworms or through drinking a water that’s infected with larvae. Moreover, kittens may also become infected with hookworms through drinking the mother cat’s milk.

Once the hookworm is already in the cat’s body, the larva might migrate to the lungs and in the small intestine. While it’s in the small intestine, the larva may attach itself to the intestine’s wall, feed on the blood of the cat, and mature into and adult worm, which may reproduce eggs, which may then pass into the cat’s stools. It may take about 2-4 weeks from the first infestation for the cat to pass on the hookworms to some other cats, other animals, and even humans. The outdoor cats, cats in congested shelters, and hunters are most probable to becoming infected with the hookworms.

Symptoms of Cat Hookworms

The symptoms of hookworms in cats are often mild in the older cats and more pronounced in the younger cats. The signs and symptoms or hookworms in cats may include the following:

  • Wheezing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Cough
  • Appetite loss
  • Tarry, block stools
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea, which might contain blood
  • Poor coat
  • Pale mucous membranes in the nostrils, gums, and lips
  • Small lesions on the bottom part of the foot pads and in between the toes

Prognosis of Cat Hookworms

Due to the fact that adult hookworms are commonly half an inch or less and yield small eggs, as well as larva, they’re hard to see on the stool using the naked eye. It is important that you watch for the different symptoms in cats to catch and cure the hookworms, right before complications take place. 

Hookworms can be diagnosed through the vet’s examination on the cat’s stool under the microscope. Moreover, the stool specimen may be mixed with a certain solution, which allows the hookworm eggs to float on top of the sample, thus making them certainly visible under a microscope. Due to the hookworms commonly reproducing daily, the infestations are effortlessly detected.

Cats that have been detected with the hookworms may have numerous laboratories drawn that will include CBC and urinalysis. These laboratories may search for low levels of hemoglobin, which are indicative of low kidney function and anemia as an outcome of dehydration.

Treatment for Cat Hookworms

Fluid Therapy

In case the cat is tremendously dehydrated, hospitalization might be required. Fluids may be intravenously given throughout the hospitalization. The vet may also run recurrent laboratories to make sure the cat’s kidneys and heart are reacting well to the therapy.

Supplements                                                       

Cats that are austerely anemic might need to get nutritional and iron supplements up until the iron levels goes back to their normal levels.

Medication

A medication for deworming may be prescribed for the cat. This particular medication may either banish or kill the worms. Furthermore, fenbendazole is a usual ingredient in the deworming medications and might cause vomiting. Further, the cat may need to get the medication for 3-5 days to make sure that all hookworms will be expelled. Moreover, the pregnant cats must start medication 2 weeks after the breeding and endure up until 2-4 weeks after giving birth to prevent hookworms from passing to the kittens. Kittens must receive medication right after they reach the age of three to four weeks and carry on once every month to make sure that all hookworms are expelled.

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