Hookworms Treatment For Cats: How to Get Rid of Those Pesky Parasites

Hookworm Treatment For Cats
____Hookworm Treatment For Cats

Hookworms Treatment For Cats: Hookworms are pesky intestinal parasites that cats can pick up in infected environments. These nasty nematodes feed on your cat’s blood, which can lead to anemia if left untreated.

Cats become infected with hookworm larvae in a few ways:

  • Ingesting infected feces, either directly or from grooming. Hookworm eggs pass through an infected animal’s feces, hatch into larvae and can survive in the environment for weeks.
  • Larvae entering through the skin, usually the feet. Cats can pick up hookworm larvae just by walking on infected soil or sand where feces have contaminated the ground. The larvae burrow into the skin and travel to the intestines.
  • Nursing kittens can get hookworms from their infected mothers during feeding. The larvae pass through the milk and enter the kittens’ intestines.

To diagnose a hookworm infection, your vet will examine your cat’s stool under a microscope to check for parasite eggs. They may also run a blood test to check for anemia, which is commonly caused by hookworms feeding on blood.

The good news is hookworms in cats are very treatable. Your vet will likely prescribe a deworming medication, like fenbendazole or milbemycin oxime. These anti-parasitic drugs kill the hookworms in about 3-7 days. You’ll need to have your cat retested to ensure all parasites have been eliminated.

With prompt diagnosis and treatment, hookworm infections in cats can be cured and any related anemia reversed. Be sure to practice good hygiene like frequent litter changes and regular deworming to prevent re-infection.

See also  Advocate Flea Treatment For Cats

Signs And Symptoms of Hookworms in Cats

Hookworms Treatment For Cats
_____Hookworms Treatment For Cats

If your cat is showing symptoms of hookworms, it’s important to get them checked out by a vet right away. Some common signs to look out for include:

  • Diarrhea or soft stools: Hookworms latch onto the intestinal wall and feed on blood, which can irritate your cat’s stomach and lead to diarrhea or loose stools.
  • Weight loss: As hookworms feed on your cat’s blood, it can cause a lack of nutrients and weight loss over time. If your cat seems to be losing weight for no reason, hookworms could be the culprit.
  • Anemia: Hookworms suck blood from their host, which can lead to a lack of red blood cells (anemia) in cats. Symptoms may include pale gums, lethargy or weakness.
  • Poor coat: A lack of proper nutrients from hookworm infestation can cause a cat’s coat to become dull, dry or brittle. Their fur may also start to fall out.
  • Visible worms: In some cases, you may actually see live hookworms in your cat’s stool or vomit. They will appear as small, white threads that may still be moving. This is a definite sign that your cat needs deworming medication right away.

Treating Hookworms Infections in Cats

Hookworms are intestinal parasites that can infect your cat and cause a number of health issues. The good news is, hookworm infections are treatable. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to get rid of these pesky parasites and get your feline friend back to full health.

1. Deworming Medication

The most common way to treat hookworms is with deworming medication, known as anthelmintics. These are available as pills, tablets, or topical treatments you apply to the skin. Common deworming medications for cats include:

  • Fenbendazole (like Safeguard or Panacur)
  • Pyrantel pamoate (like Strongid or Nemex)
  • Milbemycin oxime (like Interceptor or Sentinel)
  • Moxidectin (like Advantage Multi)
See also  Petsmart Ear Mite Treatments for Cats - What You Need to Know

Your vet will prescribe a deworming medication based on your cat’s age, weight, and the severity of the infection. Be sure to carefully follow the dosage instructions to fully eliminate the hookworms.

READ ALSO: Pillow Foot in Cats: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

2. Repeat Treatments

A single dose of deworming medication may not be enough to kill all the hookworms, especially in a severe infection. Your vet will likely recommend repeat treatments 7-10 days after the initial dose to kill any newly hatched worms. It’s critical to complete the full course of treatment to cure the infection.

3. Re-check Fecal Exam

About 2-4 weeks after the final treatment, your vet should re-check a fecal sample to look for hookworm eggs. If the exam is clear, the infection has been eliminated. If eggs are still present, additional treatment may be needed.

4. Prevent Re-infection

To prevent re-infection with hookworms, practice good hygiene like frequently washing your cat’s bedding and properly disposing of feces. Your vet may also recommend year-round deworming medication or at least periodic deworming during the warm, summer months when hookworms are most active.

By following your vet’s recommended course of treatment, providing follow-up care, and taking measures to prevent re-infection, you can get your cat back to full health and stop those hookworms in their tracks. The key is diligent treatment and care. With time and patience, you’ll get rid of this parasitic infection once and for all.

FAQs

What are the treatment options?

The most common treatments for hookworms are deworming medications, known as anthelmintics. Fenbendazole and pyrantel pamoate are two of the safest and most effective dewormers for cats. They are available as oral suspensions, tablets or pastes that you give your cat by mouth. The medication works by paralysing the worms so they pass out of your cat’s system naturally. Multiple doses are usually needed to fully eliminate an infection.

See also  Liver Shunts in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment, and Care

Are there any side effects I should watch for?

Deworming medications are very safe for most cats, but some mild side effects like vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy can occur. These side effects are usually temporary, but contact your vet right away if your cat shows severe or persistent symptoms. It’s also a good idea to monitor your cat for a few hours after giving the medication to ensure they do not have a bad reaction.

How can I prevent reinfection?

The eggs and larvae of hookworms can survive in the environment for long periods of time. To prevent your cat from getting reinfected, you’ll need to thoroughly clean their living area and practice good hygiene. Vacuum frequently, especially under furniture where eggs can hide. Clean litter boxes daily and replace litter every week. Bathe your cat regularly using a veterinary-approved flea and tick shampoo. You should also deworm your cat routinely, at least three times a year.

When will my cat recover?

With proper treatment and care, most cats make a full recovery from hookworms within 4 to 6 weeks. You may need to bring your cat in for follow-up testing to ensure the infection has cleared. Anemia caused by severe hookworm infections may take longer to resolve and require extra supplements and care. But as long as reinfection is prevented, your cat should remain hookworm-free and healthy.

READ ALSO: Radioactive Iodine Treatment for Cats: Everything You Need to Know