Parasitic Infestations in Cats
Parasites are organisms that live off other organisms, or hosts, to survive. Some parasites don’t noticeably affect their hosts. Others grow, reproduce, or invade organ systems that make their hosts sick, resulting in a parasitic infection.
It includes trichomoniasis, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, toxoplasmosis
The symptoms of parasitic infections vary depend on the organism. For example:
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite that often produces no symptoms. In some cases, it may cause itching, redness, irritation, discharge genital area.
Giardiasis may cause diarrhea, gas, upset stomach, greasy stools, and dehydration.
Cryptosporidiosis may cause stomach cramps, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, weight loss, and fever.
Toxoplasmosis may cause flu-like symptoms, including swollen lymph nodes and muscle aches or pains that can last for over a month.
Parasitic infections can be caused by three types of organisms:
- Protozoa, 2. helminths 3. ectoparasites
Protozoa are single-celled organisms that can live and multiply inside body. Some infections caused by protozoa include giardiasis.
Helminths are multi-celled organisms that can live in or outside or body. They are commonly known as worms. They include flatworms, tapeworms, thorny-headed worms, and roundworms.
Ectoparasites are multicellular organisms that live on or feed off skin. They include some insects and arachnids, such as mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and mites.
Transmission:- protozoa and helminths can be spread through contaminated water, food, waste, soil, and blood. Some can be passed through sexual contact. Some parasites are spread by insects that act as a vector, or carrier, of the disease. For example, malaria is caused by parasitic protozoa that are transmitted by mosquitoes when they feed on human.
By blood test
Fecal examination: a sample of stool will be collected and checked for parasites and their eggs.
An endoscopy or colonoscopy: pass a thin flexible tube through the mouth or rectum and into digestive system to examine intestinal tract. X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are also used for imaging.
Rohit Juneja*, Arpita Sain
ARAWALI VETRINARY COLLEGE (Affiliated with Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Bikaner), Jaipur Road, Bajor, Sikar, Rajasthan, India