Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Lungworms in Cats

ADVERTISEMENT

Parasitic Respiratory Infections in Cats

 

Lungworms are a parasitic worm species that cause severe breathing (respiratory) problems. Cats that are allowed to roam outdoors and hunt rodents and birds are especially at risk for developing this type of parasitic infection.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

There are several species of worm that can migrate to the lungs of animals. Capillaria aerophila and Aelurostrongylus abstrusus are two of those most commonly found parasites in cats. They may cause such symptoms as coughing and shortness of breath (dyspnea).

 

The coughing is caused by the worm larvae that are laid in the airway, which in turn causes difficulty breathing and mucus accumulation. If left untreated, complications in the damaged airways can lead to more serious problems such as emphysema, fluid build-up in the lungs, and even pneumonia. In some severe cases, the cat may even lose weight.

 

Causes

 

Cats become infected with lungworms when they drink water or eat prey infected with the larval stage of the worm. The larvae then migrate out of the intestines via the bloodstream to the lungs, where they develop into adult worms and lay eggs in the host's lungs within 40 days. The eggs are then coughed up by the animal or passed in feces, which may then be eaten by birds, rodents, snails, or other pets.

 

Diagnosis

 

Tests to determine if a cat has a lungworm infection will include:

 

  • Physical examination (lung auscultation) and history
  • Chest X-rays
  • Fecal examination for eggs
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Examination of fluid from lungs (tracheal wash)

 

 

Related Articles

Mid-Chest Inflammation in Dogs
An inflammation of the mid-chest area is usually caused by a bacterial infection...
READ MORE
Asthma in Cats
Bronchitis is the term used to denote inflammation of the bronchi and bronchioles....
READ MORE
Fungal Infection (Blastomycosis) in Cats
Blastomycosis is a systematic yeastlike fungal infection caused by the organism Blastomyces...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»
Search cat Articles

 

 

Around the Web
MORE FROM PETMD.COM