Toxocara is zoonotic and a particular risk to young children. While the role of T. canis and environmental contamination is well recognised, the role of T. cati has been overlooked. However, recently it has started to come to light as a likely significant contributor to this debilitating zoonosis, with a recent study in the UK showing that 26% of adult cats were shedding T. cati eggs1.
The behaviour of cats also significantly increases the risk of tapeworm infestation. For example, hunting increases the risk of Taenia spp. and grooming of fleas increases the risk of Dipylidium spp. While tapeworm are not an important zoonotic risk, the revulsion caused by seeing segments around the cat’s anus and in their faeces can erode the owner-pet bond.
To help update you on feline worms and enable you to continue to be able to provide best practice advice, Merial has launched an educational awareness campaign. As part of the campaign two articles have been commissioned, written by Ian Wright, to bring you the latest information on this very relevant subject.
Merial has also sponsored a webinar entitled "Toxocara: a topical update on T. canis and T. cati and the impact on human toxocarosis", presented by Ian Wright. The live webinar took place on 29 March, but was recorded and is available to view online. REGISTER HERE to watch the webinar.
1. Wright et al (2016). The prevalence of intestinal nematodes in cats and dogs from Lancashire, north-west England, JSAP 57(8): 393-395
Parasitologist Ian Wright, head of ESCCAP UK & Ireland, discusses tapeworms in UK cats, their significance, treatment and control.23 mins
Parasitologist Ian Wright, head of ESCCAP UK & Ireland, discusses human toxocarosis, its control and the role of cats in its transmission.