I have been a cat lover since a tender age. I own five cats and wouldn’t hesitate to get more if I had more space in my apartment. Last year, I lost two and three more had to visit the vet to survive. It was heartbreaking for me to know that I would have saved the two kitties had I acted early. The problem was, I couldn’t quite identify whether they were being just their normal selves or not.
That said, my two cats had severe roundworm infestation. The surviving three were suffering from mange. I took time to learn more about these two conditions. Interestingly, they are hard to detect unless they are quite severe. I’ll discuss each of these conditions focusing on their causes, prevention and treatment.
Roundworms in cats
Roundworms are the most common type of parasitic worms that infect cats. The infestation can be mild or severe. They can be life threatening to kittens especially in cases of heavy infestation. Unlike other types of worms which generally attach themselves onto the intestinal walls, roundworms are simply swimming within the intestines. Adult worms can grow up to 6 inches in length.
Ingestion is the primary way through which roundworms find their way into the cat’s digestive system. For kittens, it’s usually through breast milk. Adults usually ingest the roundworm eggs through food and contact with the feases of infected animals.
Once in the cat’s digestive system, the roundworm eggs hatch into larvae which travel through the bloodstream to different parts of the body. The larvae then travel to the intestines where they mature into adults and start reproducing. In cases of severe infestation, the roundworms will travel to the lungs and might be coughed out. Hatched eggs can be passed out in feases or remain dormant within the intestines. In pregnant queens, the eggs might find their way to the mammary glands and transmitted to the kittens during breastfeeding.
Preventive measures for roundworms include worming the cat frequently. Emptying the litter box regularly will minimize contact with infected feases.
Treatment for roundworms usually involves administration of medication that kills the adult worms. This needs to be done regularly to ensure that any hatched eggs are terminated.
Mange is a skin infection that affects cats. It is caused by mites which aren’t visible to the naked eye. The condition can also affect other pets such as dogs. Mange causing mites can infest almost any mammal or bird including man.
There are different types of mange each depending on the type of mite. These include scabies, otodectic mange, demodectic mange, and, sarcoptic mange. Transmission of mange causing mites is usually through contact.
Despite being invisible to the naked eye, mange causing mites will usually infest a specific part of the skin. As the female mites burrow into the skin to lay eggs, the cat will usually scratch the area to ease itchiness. Fur in the surrounding area starts to fall off leaving open scabs.
The mites will usually infest specific parts of the cat’s skin including but not limited to the neck, nose, ears, face, paws and genitalia. Once detected, mange should be treated immediately to prevent further spread of the mites. Cats are usually dipped in a solution to kill the mites.