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Identifying Hookworm Disease and Their Symptoms in House Cats

Hookworm disease primarily caused by Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma braziliense and Ancylostoma duodenale is a widespread intestinal parasite infection of domestic felids and canids. While sucking blood, these parasites cause hemorrhagic and necrotic enteritis resulting in bloody diarrhea and dysentery.

Incidence of Hookworm Disease

It is a very important disease not only of domestic dogs but also domestic cats in tropical/subtropical countries and warm temperate areas.

Etiology

Among several species of ancylostomes, Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma braziliense and Ancylostoma duodenale are important ones affecting house cats.

Transmission

Under favorable environmental conditions like confinement, over population, hot and humid climate etc. the ova of ancylostomes present in the droppings, develop into third stage infective larva and reach intestines of susceptible animals through oral/percutaneous routes.

Certain vectors like flies; Cyclops, cockroaches etc. also carry the infective third stage larvae in their systems and act as source of infection. The infective third stage larvae reach small intestine, which is predilectory site, either directly or through blood / lymph stream and then mature to become adults through fourth and fifth larval developments.

Clinical signs of Hookworm Disease in Cats

Since hookworms are blood-sucking parasites, severe anemia, bloody diarrhea and dysentery are obvious signs apart from dyspepsia, lethargy, unthriftiness, emaciation, eosinophilia and loss of skin glossiness. Stool is usually black in color due to intestinal hemorrhages. In heavy infection, ascites is a noticeable sign.

Diagnosis of Hookworm Disease in Cats

It is primarily based on fecal examination and demonstration of characteristic ova. Adult parasites can be recovered from the intestines of animals dying of the disease.

Treatment

Pyranrtel paomate, Fenbendazole, mebendazole and tetramizole are the anthelmentics of choice against hookworm infestation and administered as per recommendations of different pharmaceuticals.

Even you can give ivermectin tablets or injection to the hookworm positive cats with consultation to your vet. Supportive therapy with calcium, B1, B6, B12, liver extract and tonophosphan can be advocated along with worming procedure.

Prevention and Control

One of the popular methods of controlling the hookworm disease in cats is routine fecal sample examination followed by appropriate anthelmntic treatment and monitoring the parasitic load at frequent intervals. This will considerably contain the hookworm disease to a greater extent.

Following strict managemental practices including hygienic environment to restrict the disease can control hookworm disease in house cats.

Related Resources

Hookworm disease -- Encyclopaedia Britannica

Prevention of Zoonotic Transmission of Ascarids and Hookworms of Dogs and Cats