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Bladder worms in cats: Causes | Treatments

Bladder worms in cats causes and treatments

Animal diseases

Bladder worms in cats: Causes | Treatments

Do you know the existence of bladder worms in cats? It is an infection that is known as capilariasis and can also affect dogs.

What is the capillary?

The capillary is a small worm, internal parasite , often less than half a centimeter in length. It is closely related to intestinal worms , although they can live in a variety of places within the body, such as the liver. Capillary can affect both dogs and cats, although dogs are affected more frequently.

Capillary Nematode
Source: https://www.parasite-journal.org/

Bladder worm species in cats

There are two species that can infect the bladder :

  • Pearsonema plica (also known as Capillaria plica ): This parasite usually invades the bladder wall, although it can also be found in parts of the kidney . This species affects both dogs and cats .
  • Pearsonema feliscati (also known as Capillaria feliscati ): This parasite lives in the bladder, such as Pearsonema plica , and only affects cats .

How does a cat become infected with Capilaria ?

Cats acquire Capilaria infections from the environment. In felines that have been infected, the Capilaria pours its eggs into the bladder. These eggs are released into the environment when the animal urinates .

Once the eggs are released into the environment, the infection spreads in various ways. For example, a cat that walks through the soil contaminated with Capilaria eggs , licking its paw, directly swallows the eggs . Other species have a more complicated life cycle, lay eggs that must be ingested by an earthworm and the new host becomes infected when eating the infected earthworm.

What are the signs of bladder worm infection in cats?

In many cases, the presence of bladder worms in cats does not translate into signs of disease. When signs appear, parasites affect the walls of the bladder and kidneys; therefore, the infection can cause blood in the urine, urinary accidents and effort to urinate .

Diagnosis can be difficult because, in many cases, cats infected with Capilaria show no signs of disease, but the prognosis for this infection is good with proper treatment.

How is capilariasis diagnosed?

The diagnosis is made based on a urinalysis . When the urine is examined under a microscope, your veterinarian may see signs of inflammation, including blood or inflammatory cells. An additional test may reveal the microscopic eggs of the parasite, which are poured into the urine.

The diagnosis can be difficult  because the eggs of worms in cats bladder urine is discharged intermittently . Therefore, even if your veterinarian suspects Capilaria and analyzes urine samples, the diagnosis can be difficult to confirm.

How is the Capilaria treated ?

Once diagnosed, bladder worms in cats are relatively easy to treat. A variety of dewormers are effective against Capilaria species , including fenbendazole, ivermectin and milbemycin. Some of these are given as a single treatment, while others are repeated daily for three to five days. Your veterinarian will guide you on the appropriate treatment for your pet.

Cat licks its paw

What measures can help prevent bladder worms in cats?

The chance of infection can be reduced by limiting your cat’s chances to eat earthworms .

Is there a possibility that people get infected with the Cat Capilaria ?

This parasite does not infect humans. People can develop similar parasites, such as pinworms. These types of parasites are species-specific , that is, they limit the infection to each species and, definitely, could not be transmitted from cats to other congeners.

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