Objective—To estimate prevalences of roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm infections in pet cats in the United States and identify risk factors for parasitism.
Design—Retrospective period prevalence survey.
Study Population—356,086 cats examined at 359 private veterinary hospitals during 2003.
Procedure—Electronic medical records were searched to identify cats for which fecal flotation tests had been performed and to determine proportions of test results positive for roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. Potential risk factors for roundworm and hookworm infection were identified by means of multivariate logistic regression analysis.
Results—A total of 80,278 tests were performed on fecal samples from 66,819 cats. Calculated prevalences of roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm infection were 2.92%, 0.63%, and 0.031%, respectively. Age, reproductive status, breed, and season were significant risk factors for roundworm infection, with cats < 4 years old; sexually intact cats; mixed-breed cats; and cats examined during the summer, fall, or winter more likely to be infected. Age, reproductive status, and season were significant risk factors for hookworm infection, with cats < 1 year old, sexually intact cats, and cats examined during the summer more likely to be infected. Regional differences in prevalences of roundworm and hookworm infection were found.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that prevalences of nematode infections among pet cats in the United States may be lower than previously suspected on the basis of prevalences reported among cats in humane shelters and those reported in more geographically focused studies.