Intestinal Parasitic Infection (Strongyloidiasis) in Cats
Strongyloidiasis in Cats
Strongyloidiasis is an uncommon intestinal infection with the parasite Strongyloides tumefaciens, causing grossly visible nodules and diarrhea. (It is also possible for cats to develop an infection with the parasite S. stercoralis, but there has not yet been a reported case in the United States.) S. tumefaciens is relatively host-specific, but there is a potential for transmission to humans.
Symptoms and Types
- Inflammation of the skin, rash (dermatitis)
- Cough, bronchopneumonia
- Diarrhea or constipation, especially in newborn kittens
- Blood in stool
- Mucus in stool
There are several ways your cat may become infected with S. tumefaciens, including skin penetration, ingestion of contaminated feces, and nursing from an infected bitch. There is an increased prevalence of stronglyoidiasis in kennels, especially when there is poor sanitation and high temperatures and humidity.
The challenge your veterinarian will face will be distinguishing the cause of the cat's symptoms, which may be due to several other parasites or bacteria or viruses. He or she may culture a sample of your cat's feces, or perform a colonoscopy on the animal to identify the infective agent and check for a firm colon, which is commonly associated with S. tumefaciens.
Unless intravenous fluid supplementation is needed to stabilize your dehydrated cat, it will be treated as an outpatient. Preferred anthelmintic medication, which destroy and remove internal parasites, include ivermectin and fenbendazole.
Living and Management
Your veterinarian will want to schedule monthly fecal examinations monthly for the first six months after treatment to assure clearance of infection. During this time, your cat will intermittently shed parasitic larvae and require regular deworming sessions. He or she will also recommend a thorough cleaning of your pet's area and/or kennel to eradicate any potential larvae. You should, however, take precaution when handling the cat or items used by the animal, as humans can sometimes become infected with S. tumefaciens., causing rashes, severe abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea.
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