Worms can cause disgust and hostility even in not too sensitive people, which is quite natural. Fortunately for breeders with a "fine mental organization", in most cases, parasites can only be seen in the form of fragments in the feces of the animal. But a situation where cats have worms in their eyes is much more unpleasant. The cat itself also does not have to expect anything good from such a “neighborhood”, since it is fraught with partial or complete loss of vision.
Types of worms in the eyes of cats
These parasites live in the conjunctival cavity and under the eyelids. The disease "in the world" is known as telaziosis. As a rule, parasites of the species Thelazia californiensis are found in domestic animals.. Especially often and everywhere cats and dogs get sick. About cases of human disease is known, but this happens in extremely rare cases. The worms are small and translucent, but they are quite easy to notice in the eyes of the pet due to the sharp, “serpentine” movements produced by the parasite bodies.
More than a hundred (!) Sexually mature worms can be present in the animal’s eye alone.
Note that initially the disease was spread exclusively in North America, but eventually spread throughout the whole world. The reasons are globalization and the intensive development of international trade relations.
More on the "pedigree" of worms
But! These "worms" are not worms. Worms are “just” the larvae of Thelazia californiensis. For the first time, the disease they caused was described in the 30s of the last century by doctors who began to study in detail the parasitic pathologies of California. At that time, world medicine already knew well about wolfarthiosis, but telazi had not yet been described. However, already at that time it was known about the existence of about a dozen flies, whose larvae behave in a similar way. But it was the “California” telazia that turned out to be the most common species.
An adult insect looks for a suitable carrier (by smell), after which it flies up to the eyes of the animal and literally shoots a bunch of live larvae at them.
The accuracy of flies is simply amazing: more than 80% of juveniles fall precisely into the conjunctival cavity. The rest are between the eyelashes, under the eyelids, etc. Considering that in one "volley" of a mature female there can be up to hundreds of larvae (larvae), at one time a cat can get up to 90 "guests" in its eyes.
It takes the fly about a month to restore the stock of “combat-ready” larvae. So in a warm area, the chance of infection is almost year-round.
Moreover, experts learned that sometimes larvae in the body of an insect develop in portions. And even when the fly just crawls around the cat’s eyes (they like to eat with tear fluid) larvae are independently selected from the mother’s body and crawl in the direction of the eyes.
Depending on the time of the year and other factors, from three to nine weeks elapse from the moment of the “shot” to the pupation (it occurs already in the external environment). Oddly enough, the maximum risk of infection is in cats aged three to four years and older. If the pet is younger, he is much less likely to get sick.
Symptoms of the presence of eye worms
Symptoms in the presence of eye worms can vary depending on the intensity of infection, the number of parasites, the physiological condition of the pet, the presence of concomitant infections:
- Excessive redness and swelling of the eyes.
- Inflammation of the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis), the cat tries to blink less often and constantly sits with eyes half closed.
- In advanced cases, there is clouding of the cornea.
- The appearance of ulcerative lesions on the cornea of the eye.
- Again, in advanced cases it develops partial or complete blindness.
- The eyes of the pet are very itchy and itchy, which is why he constantly rubs their paws.
- A lot of well-defined blood vessels appear on the whites of the eyes.
- If you take a closer look, you can easily see many small and nimble worms resembling a nylon fishing line.
- Photosensitivity develops. Your cat, like a real vampire, can not look at the sun or at other sources of bright light.
- Pus oozes from the eyes constantly and uncontrollably. Sometimes desperately wriggling larvae fall out with it.
Diagnosis and treatment
The veterinarian will carefully examine both the eye itself and the tissue around it. Besides, in many cases, specialists make a flush from the conjunctival cavity, since secondary bacterial infections often develop due to the action of parasites.
It is also shown to collect exudate secreted from the eyes. It is examined under a microscope to detect parasite larvae. But, as a rule, such a "sophisticated" approach to diagnosis is not required, since the worms are clearly visible to the naked eye.
The treatment is also quite simple, can be performed by the owner of the house. As a rule, parasites can be managed quickly and without loss to the animal’s health.
The treatment procedure should be compiled by a veterinarian based on the neglect of the case, the physiological and physical condition of the animal, and other important factors.
In addition, it is important to consider the need to eliminate secondary eye infections, which are almost 100% likely to develop in cats with teliasis. That's why your pet will be treated by combining several methods at once.
The easiest option is to pre-anesthetize the eye, after which The larvae are carefully removed using forceps or tweezers. But this, of course, is in theory. As a rule, local anesthesia can not be dispensed with, so that the cat does not twitch and interfere with the procedure, general anesthesia is required.
Mandatory insecticidal ophthalmic ointments containing selamectin and moxidectin are mandatory.
To simultaneously stop the development of bacterial microflora, the use of levamisole is indicated. Often, a therapeutic course requires a lot of time and patience from the owner of the animal.
If the case is running, you will have to periodically rinse your pet’s eyes, put painkillers and insecticidal ointments into his conjunctival cavity at any time of the day or night.
But all the same, “poultices” do not always help. If there are a lot of worms and it is likely that not all larvae were removed from the eyes, insecticides are best administered parenterally (the same moxidectin has proven itself well). At times, experts prescribe this type of drug in oral form, but getting a pet to eat them is not so easy.
Once again, we note that teliasis is treated quite simply. It is only necessary to start therapy as early as possible, since otherwise the corneal layer may be damaged, which is fraught with complete loss of vision.
This risk significantly increases when ulcerative lesions are already present on the surface of the cornea.
Pretty a common procedure in the treatment of telazosis is blockade by the method of Avrorov. In this case, the pet is fixed as carefully as possible (sometimes you have to resort to general anesthesia), after which, pulling the eyeball (pressing the eyelid for this), a warm 0.5% novocaine solution is injected into the cavity of the orbit with a syringe.
It is also necessary to lay the tetracycline ointment in the conjunctival cavity, as this prevents the development of secondary bacterial infections.
Of course, at home it’s easiest to prevent the disease - you just need to Do not let the cat out. In other cases, it is more difficult to do. If you live in a private house, you must fight the flies with all your might, preventing their appearance.
Destroy garbage and waste, arrange compost heaps at the maximum distance from the house, regularly fill the cesspools with lime or ash. If you live in an area where cases of teliasis are regularly observed, be sure to treat your pet's skin with repellents before each walk.
Of course plays an important role regular inspection of the animal’s eyes. If the hair around the eye sockets is constantly covered with dried secretions, and the eyes themselves appear reddened and swollen, it will not be out of place to show your pet to the veterinarian. Of course, in situations where you can see the larvae yourself, you need to do this immediately.