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Facts about Cat PARAGONIMIASIS

Paragonimiasis is a common parasitic infection of Zoonotic importance affecting wild felids and domestic animals like dog, cat and pig. The parasites invade the lung parenchyma and remain inside the cysts without causing heavy damage. Mortality due to paragonimiasis is extemly rare.

Incidence

The disease is widely distributes in tropical/sub-tropical countries including India. This parasitic infection has been reported not only among house cats but also wild felids including lion, tiger, panthers, leopard cat, etc.

Etiology

The common species known to affect house cats are Paragonimus westermanii and Paragonimus kellikoti. These are small reddish oval shaped hermaphrodite flukes which have spiny cuticle.

Transmission and Life Cycle

Life cycle of Paragonimus sp. is typical Fasciola. It involves two intermediate hosts’ viz. snails and freshwater crabs. When crab is eaten by the final host say- cat, metacercaria are liberated in intestines and migrate across peritoneum and pleura. Adults ultimately remain in cystic spaces in lung parenchyma itself.

Clinical signs

Clinical signs specific to paragonimiasis are rarely observed during life. However, certain non-specific signs like anemia, anorexia, dullness and lethargy in house cats. Marked eosinophilia is observed among the sufferers of paragonimiasis. Affected cats appeared dull and coughed intermittently. Dyspnoea with pneumothorax also being noticed in few cats. (Ref. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1978 Sep 15;173(6):734-42.)

Diagnosis

The disease in house cats is diagnosed during necropsy examination. Mostly the lesions are noticed in the right caudal lobe, which can be diagnosed radio graphically.

Prevention, control and treatment

This disease can be prevented by controlling the vector i.e. snails and crabs. Avoiding your cat to feed on crab or table waste may help you to prevent your house cat from this disease to an extent.

Bithionol and Praziquantel are the successful drugs to prevent the occurrence of Paragonimiasis. A perfect substitute for treating paragonimiasis in cats with Praziquantel is Triclabendazole.

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