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Eucoleus (Capillaria) aerophilia Homepage



          Common name: Lungworm of dogs and cats

            Kingdom: Animalia

              Phylum: Nemathelminthes

                Class: Nematoda

                  Order: Enoplida

                    Family: Trichuroidea

                      Genus: Eucoleus (previously: Capillaria)

                        Species: aerophilia


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Adult Parasite:

The adult worms measure 25 mm (male) to 32 mm (female).

Illustration C. aerophilia. A - adult worm. B - vulva. C - posterior end of female . D, E, F - posterior end of male. G , H - eggs. From: Levine, 1998. Nematode parasites of domestic animals and man. Burgess Publishing Co., Minneapolis, MN.

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Hosts:

  • Dogs, cats, foxes, coyotes, wolves (definitive).
  • Earthworms (paratenic).

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Life Cycle:

    The host ingests an infective egg or an earthworm which contains an infective larva in its tissues. The infective larva leaves the egg or earthworm in the small intestine of the host and penetrates the intestinal wall. The larva is carried by the blood to the lungs where it develops to the adult stage in the mucosa of the trachea and bronchi. Eggs are laid into the lumen of these organs, coughed up, swallowed and eventually pass out with the feces. The prepatent period is about 6 weeks. The egg will reach the infective stage in 5 to 7 weeks. If an earthworm ingests an infective egg, the egg will hatch in the gut of the worm and the larva will migrate to the worm's tissues where it will wait for a definitive host to eat the worm.

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Site in host where adult parasite is found:

  • Mucosa of the trachea and bronchi

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Diagnostic Stage:

  • Egg with bipolar plugs (asymmetrical) and a rough surface ("netted" in appearance).
  • The egg measures 70 um X 35 um.


Common Diagnostic Test


Clinical Signs:

    Usually asymptomatic in dogs and cats, sometimes causing a slight cough. In heavily infected foxes may show rattling and wheezy breathing and some coughing.


Treatment:

    Ivermectin 0.2 mg/kg, SQ or PO, one dose, repeat if needed.

    Fenbendazole 50 mg/kg, PO, SID, for 7 to 10 days

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University of Pennsylvania  2004

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