Cats, like other animals, are affected by parasites. They can not only infect a loved pet, but also some of them can infect a person. It is necessary to recognize the infection in time in order to protect yourself and your family. Gastrointestinal parasitism is a common problem in cats, with prevalence reaching 45% in some populations.
Roundworms (Toxascaris Leonina and Toxocara Cati) are most commonly found in cats, affecting 25% to 75% of cats, with higher rates in kittens. Most often, the animal becomes infected from water and food in which helminth larvae are present. Eating rodents, snails and fleas leads to rapid infection. Cat's milk is able to transmit helminths to kittens.
The presence of mucus and blood in the feces, vomiting and diarrhea are the main symptoms of infection. Parasites can be found directly in feces or in the tail area. A helminth can infect a person from a sick cat. With proper and quick treatment, you can quickly avoid complications and restore your cat’s health.
Hookworms (Ancylostoma and Uncinaria) are similar to thin threads 1-2 cm long. These are worms that parasitize the intestinal mucosa, where they feed on the blood of the animal. It is impossible to notice hookworms with the naked eye in the feces. The life span of these worms is very long and can equal the years of life of the cat itself.
See also: What are the most popular nicknames for boys cats?
Once in the body, parasites cause diarrhea, leading to a sharp decrease in the weight of the animal. In seriously ill cats, feces turn black due to the presence of blood. With excessive blood loss, the disease can lead to the death of a pet. Fortunately, these parasites are easily diagnosed and treated.
Tapeworms (cestodes) have long flattened bodies that resemble a tape. They are often found in animals, but they are often quite difficult to recognize. Weight loss cats are one of the external signs of the presence of parasites. As worms grow larger, they take more and more nutrients for themselves. The second most noticeable symptoms are the segments around the cat's anus. Often worms resemble rice grains.
Persistent vomiting and diarrhea are common symptoms of infection. Cats usually become infected by swallowing infected fleas when they clean their fur, as well as from infected infected rodents.
See also: What doesn't your cat like?
Isosporasp. (coccidia) - microscopic unicellular organisms that cause coccidiosis. Almost all cats become infected with Isospora Felis during their lifetime, usually by eating contaminated meat or by the fecal-oral route. Cats can also become infected by eating flies or cockroaches that carry Isospora cysts.
Isospora infections usually do not cause problems in adult cats, but can cause significant illness in kittens, where coccidia can destroy the intestinal mucosa and cause mucous diarrhea. Infected kittens may also experience vomiting or loss of appetite. An accurate diagnosis is based on a demonstration of microscopic cysts in the feces. Isospore in cats cannot cause disease in humans.
Giardia are single-celled organisms that move with the help of whip-like tails and parasitize in the small intestine of cats. Cats become infected by the fecal-oral route, usually from a chronic carrier cat. Giardia cysts are very resistant to freezing and municipal water chlorination. Signs of infection may include acute or chronic diarrhea, although most cats infected with Giardia have no signs.
For an accurate diagnosis, it may be necessary to evaluate several stool samples, as cysts do not discharge continuously. It is unclear whether Giardia species that infect cats are infectious to humans or vice versa, although recent studies suggest the possibility of transmission of parasites from cat to man.
See also: Why the cat asks to open the door, but does not go: explanations and reasons
Infection with this unicellular parasite is quite common, but rarely causes disease in cats. Cats become infected by eating any of the three infectious stages of toxoplasma; most often eating contaminated meat or other raw meat. Toxoplasma multiplies in the small intestine, and oocysts are excreted in the feces after two to three weeks. Toxoplasmosis can be transmitted to people, although in most cases, healthy people infected with this organism show few signs of the disease. The exceptions are immunocompromised people and pregnant women who must be very careful to avoid contact with infectious animals.
Treating gastrointestinal parasites often requires medication prescribed by a veterinarian. The fight against parasites begins with good sanitary procedures. This includes daily removal of feces, regular washing of the tray with a disinfectant. Avoid overeating and eating raw meat and fish diets, control intermediate hosts such as fleas, ticks, and rodents.