Cats are domesticated carnivorous animals commonly known as house cats. They have been good companions to human beings for thousands of years. Sometimes they are grown as pets to eliminate vermin and other pests from home. These cats have a better sense of hearing as well as smell than human beings in order to hunt their prey. These cats should be well take care of since they can be affected with various infections by worms. There are many worms which cause diseases in cats such as whipworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and pinworms. Whipworms are very rare in cats. They are roundworms and they are named after their whip-shaped structure. They attach to the wall of the intestine and start feeding on blood for their nutrition.
The main cause for cats to be infected with whipworms are ingestion of food material infested with whipworms. Whipworms are organisms which can live in almost any environment for a long time, their eggs can be found in water, soil, decayed material, dead animals, and even in fecal material. Cats can be affected with whipworms from other animals too. Whipworms can be passed to the kittens after childbirth through milk or before childbirth through placenta. These whipworms generally live in the large intestine and in the junction of the large intestine and small intestine called cecum. Whipworms can affect cats in any age group.
Signs and symptoms of whipworm infection in cats are very rare due to reduced number of whipworms in the intestine. They might sometimes be asymptomatic. If symptomatic, then symptoms may be present even before the eggs of whipworm are seen in the body of cats. When the infection is severe, the symptoms are loss of weight, imbalance of electrolytes, anemia, dehydration, diarrhea with blood, muscle weakness, and inflammation of the large intestine.
The whipworm infection can be diagnosed through a process called fecal flotation which is done on a stool sample. If whipworms are present, they will float to the surface. Diagnosing whipworm is difficult since the female whipworms lay eggs intermittently. Due to this, repeated tests are done to confirm whipworm infection.
Worms along with its larvae are eliminated through prescribed medications from a veterinarian. Generally, deworming medications are prescribed to treat this infection. Since specific medication for this infection is not found, feline whipworm infection treatment is used. Topical treatments as well as deworming medications are recommended according to the veterinarian’s preference. Anthelmintics class of drugs such as Vermox, mintezol, biltricide, stromectol, ascarel, vansil, and albenza are prescribed. Since this organism has the potential to live for a long time, repeated followups to a veterinarian are recommended to get rid of whipworms from the cat’s system.
Disinfecting pet’s place, avoiding placing the cat in a crowded area of animals, cleaning litter boxes properly, removing fecal material from the yard daily, and replacement of soil. Cats should be restricted from going to contaminated areas since it is easily acquired from contaminated areas. Regular and frequent deworming schedule should be followed to prevent whipworm infection from affecting the cats. Hygienic cat’s environment will prevent them from acquiring this infection.