What Causes a Wolf Worm in Cats and Baby Kittens

If you are a cat owner, you must be aware of the problems seen with cat. One such primarily arises from parasite infestation. It is as troubling as creepy it sounds. The worms always seem ready to attack the cat, especially the young fellow. If you also deal with such issues and wonder What Causes a Wolf Worm in Cats and Baby Kittens? Some details covered below may offer help.

wolf worm in cats

Introduction to this felon

The parasite is not just a disgusting thing but something that causes some real distress. It is essentially a creature that will live in the host at the expense of its health. It will take maximum advantage leaving the host with the worst effects. One such case is with poor feline fellows, especially the younger ones infested by wolf worms.

This unfortunate event is familiar to cat owners and occurs at least once in the cat’s lifetime. The one freeloader that is our concern, for now, is the wolf worm, which exactly is a larva of the North American bot fly or better known as Cuterebra. The little kitty of your is the ultimate prey and exposed to all its antigenicity.

Before fighting it down, a little information over the parasite will be a great help. So let us understand it in an organized manner.

The chosen hosts by the parasite

The parasite is always looking for some host to make a living out of it. The cat generally falls prey to it by being at the wrong place at a time where he gets into the vicinity of the worm. It is usually bad hygiene or environment that lands the wolf worm into the cat.

The Cuterebra fly generally opts for some of its favorite hosts. It accounts for rodents and rabbits, and coincidently cats in our case. The worm tends typically to lay eggs into the burrows of these tiny creatures. Only the provision of the right temperature leads to the egg’s hatching, which generally comes from rodents or rabbits. The wolf worm crawls out of the egg and reaches out for the warmth that makes it land on the animal’s fur and begin a launch of a happy lifecycle, but only for the wolf worm to begin.

The worm by then has reached a home where it could move freely. One such movement is around the host’s face and where ever the hair can make it reach. Soon after beginning, it sits and waits till taken into the mouth in a usual grooming episode.

The fundamental activity begins as it gets within the body of the host. Here is where the larvae begin the actual journey and make their patch all across the host’s body. While doing so, it will take food from the host’s body, which will be the blood and some essential chemicals, making the host at a complete loss.

It keeps swaying through the body, and in doing so, it might at times cause some apparent damage. One such is with its habitation under the skin, which is the standard and preferable site of attachment. In its stay under the skin, it does not hesitate to cause a hole and makes a space for the supply of air, making breathing easy for itself. It beginning of one of the typical clinical signs of wolf worm infestation.

It is when the wolf worm begins establishing itself on the kitty and launches further development. The problem comes during its stay within the little feline fellow, which is an accidental host. Let us see in the passage below how the cycle begins in this case.

The Unplanned Host

What Causes a Wolf Worm in Baby Kittens? Well, cats come with the inherent hunting feature and would never fail or give up on chasing an animal. One such instance is your kitty chasing the rat and no matter how domesticated it is, it will give in anything to do so.

Ideally, the cat has lost its chances of getting hold of the rat, but out of inquisitive nature, it will try to reach out to the burrow and investigate the hole. There is no harm in saying that curiosity kills the cat, which has happened to the cat here.

Soon the cat reaches the burrow. This small hideout gets the cat in trouble, making it get in contact with the eggs of the wolf worm that had been looking out for warms to hatch eggs. It exposes the little fellow to the parasite and gets it infected.

They will barely know until the cat is has fallen prey of this opportunistic parasite, and even tiny kittens can become infected. Soon the hatched larvae make their way to the inside of the body. The wolf worm is good to go with the first host it comes across with. The worm does not restrain itself to few choices and can infest even the tiny innocent fellow without any mercy to it.

Probable site of infection 

The Parasites are generally the creepy fellows that give the idea of grossness right after seeing it in the surrounding. The very idea of having it in the kitty that you shall be cuddling with you gives you a chill. And imagine when you are kissing and being all close to it.

For now, the first thing is to see is how it infects the kitty and where it tries to reaches out its body. The leading site of infections for the wolf worm tends to be several vital tissues and organs that can disturb the underlying process that could be vital to function normally for the cat.

The cat can have some severe effects on some life-threatening situations post infestation. Some of the shuddering things that can happen to the cat are neurological disturbances. That can happen to the cat as it passes into them merely through the brain.

Most of the cases show that once the worm is done traveling around the body. Usually, the final site of infestation for the worm is the neck portion of the kitten’s head. It proceeds by creating the hole required to ensure the ease of breathing with its stay there.

What are the symptoms of wolf worms in cats?

One can identify the wolf worm in the little fellow by observing the cat closely. Some changes or symptoms are specific that can take you to a quick diagnosis of the parasite infestation. One such thing is a significant and visible lump that is more like a cyst as it appears on neck of the cat.

The lump may also come out on other regions of the cat’s body, but that is uncommon and rarely linked to this condition. In this case, with the appearance of the cyst, immediate medical care or referring the vet is something to be done.

Sometimes the lump is identified with a bit of hole. This place is the site of entry of air for the larva. However, the growth of larvae can be seen in the circulation post the grooming session. The cat might experience the pus making its way out of the hole. It is usually the case that opens up passage post-secondary infection and may be trouble if left untreated for long.

How to treat the wolf worm in cats

Once dealt with what causes a Wolf Worm in Baby Kittens? The next thing is having the wolf worm treated in cats especially post identification of the lump. The vet will be in a proper position to suggest the right cure and treatment medicine against wolfworm.

The vet instead helps with the physical removal of the larva by using proper tools and germ free method. Most of the time, it takes forceps for plain removal, while it becomes almost impossible under some other circumstances. There are chances that the part of the larvae retreats from the tool and is left undone.

Thus, one should never be doing this independently and refer some professional help in doing so. The larvae left halfway into the cat’s body can lead to secondary infection and other body conditions. A single and complete removal of the organism is essential to be done in one go.

Once the process is done, the cat can be flushed out of the particular site infected with the parasite. The underlying unhealthy tissue will be removed in this process, detaching any remains of the contaminant.

It might take some time to have the tissue heal ultimately. A good vet will be at best knowledge of prescribing a regimen of antibiotics that is important to remove any chance of infections. However, as a precautionary measure, the cat can have the prophylactic medication given before any such episode of infestation. And the cat should be preferably kept indoor or supervised for the outdoor activities.

Understanding cats complaints against Wolf-worm.

A cat infected with wolf worm can develop some problems post infestation. The health of the cat is affected at various levels. Some of the cats that get away with a prompt diagnosis and treatment are in the safe zone. At the same time, others that stay in that trouble can present a couple of complaints.

Some of them include neurological problems with larvae reaching out to the brain. It may additionally cause vision loss, a continuous presence of circling, and a head tilt. Some cats can experience seizures with additional behavioral changes.

One is not away from breathing complications, especially with the larva attempting to get out of the nose. These changes can be diagnosed or seen through by verifying through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on the cat’s brain.

In case of severe damage to the brain, one can go for euthanization. In case of early diagnosis of the issue, one also can get timely medication.

The Good News

While many of you are still stuck with the question What Causes a Wolf Worm in Baby Kittens and CT, we will not take a moment to break the good part of the story in this terrifying situation. Having the kitten infested with the worm is a rare event in domesticated cats.

This worm, also known as Cuterebra, needs immediate evacuation, so having the cat groomed regularly by yourself and visiting the vet periodically saves many troubles. Having hair trimmed, keeping the cat tidy and away from dirty areas helped a lot in keeping this rare event rare.

Note: While it is pretty rare, the bad thing is that if it happens out of the blue, it will be the most disgusting thing to be handled.

Cuterebra or wolf parasite gaining entry in cats.

The cat usually has the wolf worm that generally comes from the Female botflies. This female begins the cycle by laying the eggs at some spots that include some nests like its primary host, the rabbits, and rodents.

The baby kitten is thus, not the first host; in fact, it joins the cycle at a later stage. The feline usually gets into the problem while seeking these nests and getting them entered in its fur. Typically cat gets it done when it is outdoor for some activities.

It can indirectly enter via entering a cat’s hair and then be swallowed up in a grooming session. Or it can also make its way by directly entering through the scratch or wound of the cat and creating its way into the cat’s body.

The ultimate treatment

Once you have settled the query, What Causes a Wolf Worm in Baby Kittens? The very next thing is how to get rid kitty of it. It can be a tricky thing but not impossible. Plus, this is the only thing that can lead you to get kitty back to a healthy life.

One might think at the time that with the right guts, you may do it all yourself. All you need is to point it out and get it off the body of the baby kitten. No matter how strong you are and have the nerves to do so, this is technically a tough call.

One needs to have professional assistance to get the task done. Some of the care needs to be taken in doing so. The primary thing is keeping the kitty safe from any further trouble. One such issue is having a secondary infection that can cause additional problems.

A non-technical person can get it all wrong. The process may fail and even cause the bursting of the parasite leading to health complications. Thus, one needs to get it done under vet instructions. Only a supervised removal will get you rid of it entirely from the kitten’s body. It is essential to have the kitten checked with the vet when having the process done. The needs of the cat-like food, medicine, and extra care should be as per his guidelines. Only then can one have a proper recovery of the feline fellow.

Also, after removing the wolf worm, it is essential to have the hole filled by the vet. Plus, proper cleansing is also necessary to ensure complete removal and disinfestation of the cat. Needless to say that all activities go supervised by a trained person.

Prevention is better than cure.

The wise man says that prevention is better than cure. Keeping the changes minimal and saving the cat safe from messy places can protect it from this trouble. One can go with having some preventable medicine that is prophylactic in nature. The treatment will keep the antibodies working against any parasite invasion that tries to infest the cat.

In addition to this, some additional screening over the year at least once can help a lot. You are having the kitty checked by the bet at least once a year decreases the chance of infestation to almost none. And even in case of positive infestation, one can rid the cat soon before it can cause any trouble. By having the stool of the kitty tested. The presence of an egg in the seat can confirm the outbreak of infection. Correct diagnosis in time can help you save any trouble.

One can also have it done by preventing the cat from going out, especially unsupervised. Only then are the possibilities that the cat does not get into places that are prone to having the eggs of the worm. In addition to this, keeping the litter box clean is one of the things helping prevention.


  • What is a wolf worm?

It is a type of fly usually known as Cuterebra. Its larva attaches itself to a cat as a Parasite. The attachment usually happens at cat’ eye, skin, brain, spinal cord, or upper respiratory tract. They are usually called wolf worms or warbles at their larval stage. These flies also known as botflies can be found in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

  • How possibly a baby cat cats have a Wolf worm?

Cats and the kittens fall into the class of accidental hosts of the larvae of Cuterebra. The episode comes into play when the cat is busy with outdoor activities. Or when the cat is at the best display of its intrinsic hunting habit.

The chase for reaching out a mouse and even getting into the burrow makes the cat get larvae egg into its fur. It stays there until the cat is grooming and takes it into the body, where it begins to thrive.

  • Do cats get infested by wolf worms, and does it kill a cat?

Yes, although this is a rare incident, cats are an accidental host of the wolf worm. It is possible to have it in your cat, and thus, one needs to supervise the outdoor activities of the cat and keep it vaccinated against such possibilities.

Some of the symptoms that can warn you against such possibilities include a pot like a belly, lower appetite, abdominal discomfort, and overall suppressed growth of the kitty. The situation may worsen if not dealt timely.

  • What precautions can one take if a cat haves a wolf worm?

If one aims at handling the worm on its own, some of the steps that can be taken include:

  1. Make sure to clean the poop of the cat once daily.
  2. Also, clean the surrounding of the cat.
  3. Make a distinct separation between the stools of two different pets.
  4. Never forget administering the de-wormer as per schedule.
  5. Never hesitate to reach out vet if the worm stays.

However, the most preferred option remains technical help that can save you from incomplete removal of the pest.

  • How can I work to de-worm the cat on my own?

It is a job that needs to be taken up by a professional. As per suggestion, the vet is in the best position to do otherwise chances of carrying out the process; one will need the following items:

A digital scale

One cc syringe

An ounce of oral de-wormer

  • Is it possible to have the worms by kissing the cat?

As a general rule, if the cat possess a disease with some virus or infested with a parasite, one should keep a safe distance. It will minimize the chances of contamination and control the spread of disease. For more details read our guide about interacting with a cat with worms.

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