Hookworm in Cats - Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

This article covers the important facts about hookworms in cats, including symptoms, treatment and how you can protect your cat, you and your family.

Hookworm in cats
Hookworm in cats

What are hookworms in cats?

Hookworms are a type of parasitic worm that live in the small intestine of cats. Hookworms have sharp, biting mouthparts which they use to attach to the intestinal wall to feed on blood.

How do cats get hookworms?

Hookworm infection in cats can occur in different ways:

  • By ingestion of hookworm larvae from a contaminated environment (e.g., the back yard or other contaminated area)
  • Hookworm larvae can penetrate the cat’s skin and then migrate to the intestine.
  • Kittens can become infected by hookworm larvae transmitted in their mother's milk

Cat hookworm symptoms

Symptoms or signs of hookworm in cats may include:

  • Skin lesions
  • Respiratory signs
  • Intestinal disorders (e.g., diarrhoea)
  • Anaemia
  • Weight loss

Severe hookworm infestations can be fatal due to the blood loss caused by the worms. When only small numbers of hookworms are present, there may be no symptoms at all.

What do hookworms look like in cats

Hookworms are small and it is unlikely you’ll be able to see the worms in your cat’s faeces. Your vet can perform a microscopic examination on a faecal sample from your cat to look for hookworm eggs.

Hookworm treatment for cats

NexGard SPECTRA® Spot-On for Cats is a highly effective hookworm treatment for cats. It can be used in all cats from 8 weeks of age and weighing at least
0.8 kg.

Hookworm prevention for cats

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Protecting cats against hookworm is essential, not only for your cat’s health, but also the health of you and your family. Hookworm eggs are passed in the faeces of infested cats. The eggs hatch and the larvae can infest people by penetrating the skin (e.g., if walking barefoot on contaminated sand or soil). The larvae can then migrate through the skin resulting in itchy and inflamed skin lesions and other more serious diseases.

Monthly deworming of cats is recommended to reduce environmental contamination with hookworm eggs and minimise the risk of transmission to people.

Monthly treatment with NexGard SPECTRA® protects cats against intestinal worms, including hookworm, as well as fleas, ticks, mites, heartworm and lungworm.

Nexgard spectra for cats - portrait Nexgard spectra for cats - portrait


  • How serious is hookworm in cats?

    Hookworms can cause very serious, and even fatal, disease in cats, especially in kittens.

  • Can I get hookworm from my cat licking me?

    No, although people can be infected with feline hookworms, this happens when microscopic hookworm larvae penetrate the skin (e.g., if walking barefoot on contaminated sand or soil). Although hookworm isn't a risk from licking, it’s best not to let your cat lick you as they can transmit other potentially dangerous bugs.

  • Can you treat hookworm in cats at home?

    Highly effective hookworm treatments for cats are available that can be given at home, such as NexGard SPECTRA® Spot-On for Cats. If your cat is showing signs of illness associated with hookworm, your vet may recommend other supportive treatments or even hospitalisation.



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