One cause of cat hookworms is when a cat come in contact with the environment infected with larvae of the hookworms. The larvae can be ingested by the cat or the larvae may enter the body of the cat by burrowing into the skin. Hookworm larvae may also infect the water and food given to the cat.
Adult cat hookworms are known to live in the small intestines of the cat. The cat hookworms lay eggs and the eggs are passed into the excrement of the cat. The eggs in the feces hatch under warm and moist conditions as larvae are scattered in the soil to which it can infect a contacting cat. The larvae can survive for several days in the environment even without infecting a host or even without a host to feed on.
The cat hookworms are measured to be less than an inch in length and have teeth or mouth parts that help them cling to the walls of the cat’s intestines. The clinging hookworms feed on the blood and tissues of the host. Cat hookworms can easily detach from their present spot and transfer to another spot where they can resume in sucking blood. The hookworms may also migrate to the lungs of the cat from where they are coughed up and swallowed before developing as adults in the intestines.
Symptoms of cat hookworms include the failure of the infected cat to gain weight or weight loss. Anemia accompanied by pale gums and weakness, diarrhea, bloody or tarry stools, coughing due to larval migration, skin irritation particularly in the feet between toes are caused by the migrating larvae. The species of hookworm as well as the volume of hookworms in the cat usually dictate how severe the disease is. The age and health of the infected cat is also considered when evaluating the severity of the situation.
Eggs of cat hookworms present can be detected through a microscope during a routine check of a stool sample. In the case of kittens, routine deworming is recommended since it takes a while before young kittens start discharging the eggs of the hookworms.
The number of treatments required for the infected cat will depend on the age of the cat and the severity of the infection by hookworms as advised by the veterinarian. A deworming program for a pregnant cat should be designed by the vet for both the mom and kittens. However, prevention is still the best way of getting rid of hookworms. Cat wastes should be picked up at once and cats should be prevented from eating rodents to prevent infection with worms.