Hookworms are a small type of roundworm, and grow up to 16mm in length. Despite their small size, however, they can still cause problems in our cats, although much less frequently than in dogs. Using sharp jaws, hookworms latch on to the inside of the wall of the small intestine, and feed off blood from the small vessels there.
There are two types of hookworm which can affect cats in the UK; the more common of the two is Uncinaria stenocephala, which rarely causes any signs of infection and also rarely affects cats. The less common is Ancylostoma tubiformae, which is capable of causing more severe disease but is far less prevalent.
Differently from other types of worm, hookworms can also enter the body through the skin, although as cats are generally quite fastidious about their care this is uncommon. In these cases the larvae rarely make it deep into the body, and usually just show as skin inflammation.