Hookworm infections are diagnosed frequently in puppies and dogs, but kittens and cats are not as susceptible to hookworm infections. However if cats or kittens do become infected with these intestinal parasites, prompt treatment is needed. Hookworms in cats can cause a greater amount of intestinal bleeding, and cats with hookworm infections are at risk of developing anemia. Fortunately there are numerous medications which can effectively treat hookworm infection in cats and kittens.
Cats and kittens usually become infected with hookworms when they accidentally ingest hookworm larvae. Most cats or kittens diagnosed with hookworms infections were in unsanitary conditions, or they were around other animals, (including dogs), that were carrying the parasites. Unlike puppies, kittens cannot become infected with hookworms through their mother’s placenta or milk.
Treating Hookworm Infection
If your cat has been diagnosed with hookworms, your veterinarian will treat the cat based on the cat’s age and level of infection. Oral treatments for hookworm infection in cats include ivermectin, praziquantel, or milbemycin oxime. These oral treatments are usually administered twice to ensure that all developing larvae are eliminated.
Revolution, a topical treatment that is applied to the cat’s skin between the shoulder blades, can also eliminate hookworm infection as well as fleas, roundworms, and ear mites. Cats must be older than 6 weeks of age before revolution can be applied to their skin. In some cases, the hookworm infection can be so bad that the cat or kitten suffers from severe life threatening anemia. In this instance, a blood transfusion and/or specific nutritional support may be needed.
Over the counter treatments for hookworms in cats are available, but these treatments often require repeated dosages and they may not eliminate the type of hookworm that your cat has or be appropriate for cats of certain ages. It is best to give your cat hookworm treatments that have been prescribed by your veterinarian.