A cat owner called to report his cat had vomited a long, slender nematode. Additional nematodes were found in the cat’s water dish and submitted to the veterinarian for identification. The owner would like to know what treatment is recommend for ridding his cat of these parasites.
Although this is a nematode, it is not a parasitic worm of vertebrates. This organism is one of over 300 species of nematodes within the order Gordioda. Commonly called Gordian worms or horsehair worms, the adult nematodes are commonly found in freshwater or semi-terrestrial habitats; the larval stage parasitizes insects, particularly crickets, grasshoppers, and locusts. The client’s cat may have ingested an adult horsehair worm from the water dish or a larval pre-emergent stage while preying on an insect. Treatment of the cat for this spurious parasite is not necessary.
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