Round Worms (picture)

- The epidermis (skin) of a nematode/roundworm is highly unusual; it is not composed of cells like other animals, but instead is a mass of cellular material and nuclei without separate membranes. This epidermis secretes a thick outer cuticle which is both tough and flexible.

- more than 15,000 known species of roundworms

-Some scientists have estimated that there may be as many as half a million more unknown species of roundworm yet to be discovered

- There are two species of roundworms affecting cats and kittens

- Toxocara cati (only infects cats) and Toxascaris leonina. (Infects dogs and humans)

- Both are treated with the same medication protocol so when eggs are seen on a fecal flotation exam it is not necessary to determine which species is present

- can grow up to 7 inches long, and look nasty to boot!

- In cats, there are three ways by which infection with Toxocara cati occurs

-Consuming infective worm eggs from soil in the environment (generally through normal grooming)

-Nursing from an infected mother cat (most kittens are infected this way). -Consuming a prey animal (usually rodent) that is carrying developing worms.

- Life Cycle (picture)

- Toxocara eggs are passed in the host’s feces. In a fecal flotation, the eggs can already be seen. The egg takes about a month before it is able to infect a new host. While it only takes a month to become infective, if they have to wait, they are patient creatures and can remain infective for months or even years.

- The egg containing what is called a "second stage larva" is picked up by a cat. The egg actually hatches in the new hosts intestinal tract and upon hatching, encysts within the tissues and oftentimes the liver. If the host is not a cat, the larvae will wait until the current host is eaten by a cat.

- These second stage larvae can remain encysted happily for years. Later, the larvae excyst and migrate to the host’s lungs where they develop into "third stage larvae." Once again they encyst or burrow into the small airways and travel upward towards the host’s throat. A heavy infection can produce a serious case of pneumonia. If your ferals are coughing, this may be a sign that roundworms are in the air passages. The worms are coughed up into the host’s throat where they are swallowed thus entering the intestinal tract for the second time in their development. Nursing cats often pass on second stage larvae through the mamaery gland thus kittens can be infected by drinking their mother’s milk.

- Once back in the intestine, the larvae complete their maturation and begin to mate. The first eggs are laid about one week after the fourth stage larvae have arrived in the intestine and about 4-5 weeks after infection has first occurred. From here the cycle repeats.

- Negative Effects

- diarhea

- vomitting

- pnumonia

- obstructed intestines

- Other symptoms-

- look for the pot bellied look

- Prevention–try to keep fecal matter cleaned up, provide somewhere that cats can go to bathroom and be sure to keep on top of that

- Medication–wormers don’t actually kill the worms, that’s why you have to do it several times, once doesn’t really do squat cause the cat will be reinfected when the worms mitigate to the intestines again

- WF recommends Drontal, comes in tablet form, crush and put in canned cat food

- Infection in humans--Visceral larval migrans and ocular larval migrans (in the eye!) are diseases caused by the migration of Toxocara larvae through the tissue of people, particularly children. Although these diseases are rare, they can be quite serious, especially when they occur in young children. –milk spots on liver, hemoraghing and damage within the lung, blindness in the eye, severe nurological problems in the brain.