What are roundworms in cats
The roundworms in cats or Ascarids are a widespread intestinal parasitic worm found in many species including cats. There are two species of round worms which affect cats, and they are named as Toxocara cati and Toxascaris leonina. In the two the Toxocara cati is more frequently found in cats. These worms feed upon the intestinal contents of the cat, and competing with the host cat for food. These roundworms are around three to five inches long are spaghetti like in their form and appearance. When the infestation of round worms is severe it can lead to pneumonia and intestinal blockage in the cat. As stated earlier, the roundworms compete with the cat for food, it can result in the cat not getting enough nutrients and hence becoming malnourished. This is frequently seen in kittens than in grown up cats.
Causes of roundworms in cats
Generally there are three modes of transmission of round worms in cats, all of which take place when the cat consumes things that contain the infective eggs. There is also a possibility of larvae to be encysted in the tissues from an infection that happened earlier. The three modes are stated below
1. First mode is called Transmammary transmission (Toxocara cati) and this happens when a cat is contaminated with roundworm, some larvae of the worm travel to other tissues in the body. The condition of pregnancy re-activates these larvae which transfer to the mammary glands and are then are passed onto the kittens through the mother’s milk.
2. The second mode is hunting as rodents like rats can act as transitional hosts to roundworm and when the cat kills them and eat them they pass these worms to the cat.
3. Another mode is the environmental mode in which cats ingest roundworm eggs containing infective larvae from the environment around such as from soil, or when they come into contact with the faeces of another cat that is infected.
Treatment of roundworms in cats
For the treatment of round worms in cats there are a number of medications that can be used to treat them, and your vet can help you pick the right medicine for your cat. The medications only affects the adult roundworms, however, there is a need to repeat the medication to deal with any residual larvae as they mature. The medication needs to be repeated at two week intervals. The number of treatments needed depends on the age of the cat and the circumstances, and will be suggested by your vet. When you have a pregnant cat, you should consult your vet for advice on deworming the mother and her kittens. Once de wormed, a lot of of the monthly medications designed for heartworm / parasite control also contain medication that will avert roundworm infections on an ongoing basis and all the options can be discussed with your vet. When the cat is not on one of these preventatives, your vet will suggest a regular de worming practice to keep roundworms away from your cat. Cleaning up your cat’s wastes swiftly and preventing cats from eating rodents like rats can also help to put off infection of round worms in cats.