Cats with Hookworms

Hookworm in Cats, Kittens

Hookworms are 1/2 to 3/4 inch long parasites that attach themselves to the walls of the intestines and feed on the oxygen-carrying blood. They often cause anemia, which results in fatigue and weakness.

Helping Cat with Hookworm

Dear Simba, Our cat has a worm periodically that is flat, that is
approx. 1/2 inch long with an end resembling that of the hammer head shark. It does not resemble the tapeworm everyone talks about and it is white in color, not translucent. It is definitely not segmented. Any ideas? We give her parantol for it but they seem to return. Baby Kitty's Family

Dear Baby Kitty's Family,
It is entirely possible that your kitty may have Hookworms (Ancylostoma or Uncinaria). Adult hookworms are 1/2 to 3/4 inches long but very thin, almost thread-like. Because they are so thin they usually are usually invisible to the naked eye in the feces of infected cats. They are called hookworms because their anterior end is curved dorsally, giving the worm a hook-like appearance.
hookworm parasite in cats

Hookworms attach themselves to the intestinal tract where they attach themselves to the walls and feed on the oxygen-carrying blood and can cause anemia (anemia symptoms: pale gums, weakness, sometimes black, tarry stools). These hookworms have long life spans and can live as long as your cat...Hookworms require treatment with a strong wormer. Please discuss with your Vet!

Because the worms are ingested through contaminated food or water, moist surfaces and feces, re-infection is common. Therefore, you want to isolate kitty in a room while he is in treatment. Also, you will want to ensure that all areas of the home, including his isolation room are thoroughly clean (especially where he sleeps and goes to the bathroom). Be sure to wear shoes or other protective footgear when cleaning the litter box because the worms can be absorbed through the skin by people. Pay particular attention to any accumulation of water in containers and even small ponds. Unfortunately, are no vaccines for hookworms, so the best way to protect Kitten is by being vigilant.
Do not panic. This is a common and an easily treated condition. According to the Cornell Feline Health Center the prevalence of hookworm infections in North America is between 10% and 60%. Kitty will be much the better after he is attended to. Simba

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