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Strongyloides in Cats

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Strongyloides are tiny worms that burrow in the small intestine, causing diarrhea, which is sometimes bloody. Strongyloides can be transferred to kittens through the mother's milk but most infections result after direct exposure to feces from other infected animals. Sometimes, the immature larva can migrate through the skin, causing a skin rash.

Stronglyoides infection is seen most commonly in kittens, especially in crowded conditions.

What to Watch For

  • Diarrhea
  • Dermatitis (skin inflammation)
  • Debilitated puppies
  • Occasionally, respiratory signs, such as coughing or difficulty breathing, are seen in cases where parasites penetrate the lungs.

    Diagnosis

    Routine baseline tests (complete blood count, biochemical profile, urinalysis) are generally within normal limits. Additional tests include:

  • Direct fecal examination
  • Baermann sedimentation (a special fecal test)

    Treatment

  • Fenbendazole (Panacur®) for 5 days
  • Ivermectin, (Ivomec®)
  • Fluid and electrolyte replacement may be indicated in the extremely debilitated and dehydrated animals

    Home Care and Prevention

    Administer all treatment prescribed by your veterinarian. Have your veterinarian recheck the feces after treatment to assure there is resolution. Keep the environment clean to keep the pets from being reinfected.

    This disease is a human health hazard, as larvae penetrate unbroken skin. Immunosuppressed people are at particular risk for disease after infection.                                

    The best way to prevent infection is to prevent your pet from coming in contact with known infected individuals. Thoroughly deworm infected individuals and clean up the environment.

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