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All About Cat Roundworms

Cat roundworms are also known as ascarid infection, is an important helminthic disease affecting small intestines of both young and adult felids primarily caused by Toxocara cati and Toxascaris leonina. These parasites generally cause low-grade enteritis and in heavy infection, bundles of parasites are voided in feces and vomitus. Toxocara cati (Cat roundworm) also infects human beings and therefore, is of Zoonotic importance.

What are the Feline Species Susceptible for Roundworms?

Cat roundworms are world wide in distribution particularly in tropical and sub-tropical countries. This disease is widespread not only in house cats but also in other felids including lions, tigers, leopards and jungle, fishing, golden and leopard cats as evidenced by routine coprological investigation.

What are the Causes for Roundworm in a Cat?

Toxocara cati and Toxocaris leonina are cat roundworms measuring about 100 mm in length and have anterior end and with large striated alay. The spherical egg of Toxocara cati has markedly pitted shells whereas oval egg of Toxascaris leonina has relatively smooth surface.

How did my Cat get Roundworms?

Cat roundworm eggs, which are voided in feces, do not hatch out to become infective larva until final host ingests them.

What Kinds of Problems do Roundworms Cause for my Cat?

Both young and adult animals suffer from common cat roundworm infection. However, acute disease is more common in the former. In heavy infection, adult worms are voided in the feces and vomitus. In chronic cases, unthriftiness, rough coat, emaciation, ascites, and diarrhea are common signs. Death rarely occurs due to ascariasis.

How is Cat Roundworm Infection Diagnosed?

It is essentially based on fecal sample examination and demonstration of characteristics ova. At necropsy, the adult worms can be readily recognized in the intestinal lumen.

How the Roundworms Are Treated?

There are multi-various drugs are available to remove the feline ascariasis. Most of these medicaments are given orally and have few with side-effects. However, these drugs will eradicate the adult worms only. Hence the treatment should repeated after 2-4 weeks to destroy any newly formed adult worms that were larvae at the time of the first treatment.

The common treatment followed to kill the cat roundworms are-

  • Pyrantel paomate @3.5 mg/kg body weight orally once daily for 3-5 days.
  • Albendazole @ 5mg/kg bodyweight once a day orally for 3 days followed by repeat treatment in the next fortnight.
  • Piperazine @ 200 mg/kg body weight once orally.
  • Mebendazole @ 100 m/kg body weight orally once a day.

How to Control Cat Roundworms?

The eggs of cat roundworms are highly resistant to drying, ultraviolet rays, freezing and other adverse environmental conditions and disinfectants. It is, therefore, difficult to eliminate them completely.

Cat roundworms remain inside the enclosures in spite of thorough disinfection. Periodic anthelmintic treatment should be given once in every three months followed by regular monitoring by fecal sample examination for determining the parasitic load of roundworms in cat.

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