Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Do all roads lead to Rome? The potential of different approaches to diagnose Aelurostrongylus abstrusus infection in cats

Abstract

An infection with the cat lungworm, Aelurostrongylus abstrusus, can be subclinical, but it can also cause severe respiratory clinical signs. Larvae excretion, antibody levels, clinical assessment findings of the respiratory system and diagnostic imaging findings were recorded and compared for six cats with experimental aelurostrongylosis. In five cats, patency started 33–47 days post infection (pi), but two cats excreted larvae only in long intervals and low numbers. Positive ELISA results were observed in four cats with patent aelurostrongylosis, starting between five days before and 85 days after onset of patency. One seropositive cat remained copromicroscopically negative. Mild respiratory signs were observed in all cats examined. A computed tomographic (CT) examination of the lungs displayed distinct alterations, even in absence of evident clinical signs or when larvae excretion was low or negative. The thoracic radiograph evaluation correlated with the CT results, but CT was more distinctive. After anthelmintic treatment in the 25th week post infection, pulmonary imaging findings improved back to normal within 6–24 weeks. This study shows that a multifaceted approach, including diagnostic imaging, can provide a clearer diagnosis and monitoring of disease progression. Furthermore, a CT examination provides an alternative to post mortem examination and worm counts in anthelmintic efficacy studies.

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