Lungworms Average Cost

From 506 quotes ranging from $200 - 500

Average Cost

$250

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What are Lungworms?

The worms enter the cat by being ingested. Once in the intestines, the worms find the cat’s bloodstream and travel to the lungs. This journey takes approximately 8 or 9 days. The worms mature in the lungs and lay their eggs in lung tissue and airways. After the larvae hatch, they travel up the trachea, where they are swallowed by the cat and flushed through the digestive tract. About 40 days after the initial infection the larvae exit the cat through its feces. While in the lungs, these worms have a tendency to cause infection and damage tissue, primarily in the lower respiratory tract. Veterinary assistance is needed to eradicate a lungworm infestation.

Lungworms are hair-shaped worms that generally range from one to four centimeters in length. The females are significantly longer than the males. Two species of this worm are able to infect cats. Aelurostrongylus abstrusus , also known as Feline Lungworm, is the most common lungworm found in cats. Eucoleus aerophilus (sometimes called Capillaria aerophila) is a lungworm found in both cats and dogs. These worms were at one time thought to rarely affect cats, but after recent study, it is believed over five percent of all cats carry lungworm. 

Symptoms of Lungworms in Cats

Many cats show no symptoms when infected with lungworms. In young cats, cats with weakened immune systems, and in cases of extreme infestation, the following symptoms may be seen: 

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Mouth breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bronchitis
  • Tracheitis
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Emphysema
  • Nasal discharge
  • Rapid heart rates
  • No interest in play
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Emaciation
  • Fever

Causes of Lungworms in Cats

Cats contract lungworm mainly from hunting and exploring outdoors. Adult worms can live for over 9 months in a hospitable environment. Both types of lungworm have different ways of entering the cat.

Aelurostrongylus abstrusus

These worms infect slugs and snails. Cats come in contact with the worms by eating any small animal (birds, rodents, amphibia or reptiles) that feed on affected slugs and snails. 

Eucoleus aerophilus  

This type of worm mainly infects earthworms and rodents. The larvae spread from these hosts and live in small water pools. A cat can contract these worms from eating infected rodents or drinking contaminated water. 

Diagnosis of Lungworms in Cats

Upon arrival at your veterinary clinic, the vet will request your cat’s full medical history. Then, a physical exam will be performed. The vet will take note of any symptoms that match signs of lungworm. The most common way to confirm an infection of lungworms is to test the cat’s feces for the presence of larvae. As it takes over a month for the larvae to pass through the cat, sometimes multiple fecal exams may be required. 

In some cases, a tracheal wash may be done to find larvae that have traveled to the trachea from the lungs. X-rays can be done to evaluate the condition of the lungs and to rule out any other causes of lung problems. A bronchoscopy may be used to get a visual on the cat’s airways. Often, the diagnosis may be made after a round of antibiotics has had no effect on the condition of the cat. It is important to note that in the case of kittens, a diagnosis needs to be made fast as the infection can be life-threatening. 

Treatment of Lungworms in Cats

Lungworms can generally be eliminated through extensive treatment with medications. Your veterinarian will recommend the best type for the cat’s specific infection.

Deworming Medication 

Many deworming medications are available for prescription through a veterinarian. To ensure all lungworms are exterminated, often the medication will be needed for up to two months. 

Antibiotics 

If the cat has developed a secondary infection from the lungworms, such as bacterial pneumonia, antibiotics will be prescribed for 2-4 weeks.

Corticosteroids 

If any inflammation has occurred due to lungworm infestation,corticosteroids may be used to decrease it. 

If the infestation is not severe and the cat is in good condition, the vet may suggest to monitor the cat and allow it to naturally eliminate the worms. 

Recovery of Lungworms in Cats

Most cats make a full recovery from a lungworm infection. Kittens are at a higher risk for developing complications from lungworms that can become life threatening. If secondary infections have progressed, they need to be managed immediately before they become a threat to the cat. 

If at all possible, keep your cat indoors to prevent the possibility of infection. If a cat cannot hunt, the chance of it contracting lungworms is almost nonexistent. Maintain a regular deworming schedule through your vet. Clean the cat’s litter box daily, and disinfect it often. It is rare that lungworm can spread to humans, but not impossible. 

Lungworms Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Kitty
Shorthair
Six Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Coughing

Noey's Mom,

I have a 6 month old kitten that I rescued in Miss. (when she was 3 months old), then brought to Oregon. She started coughing at least 3 times a day and my vet suspected Lungworm. She had fecal tests done, blood panel, was wormed again, given antibiotics for possible secondary infection, and started on Revolution. Another fecal test was done a month later and even though the fecal test was not specific for lungworm, the lab found lungworm larvae in her stool. My kitten never ran a fever and otherwise acted like a healthy kitten. At this point treatment was to continue monthly Revolution. Since it can take months to rid lungworm from the system, we waited two months before the vet ran the test that is specific for lungworm and she tested negative. If she had tested positive the vet would have changed to a stronger treatment. In my kitten's case, the Revolution was enough to kill the infestation she had, so for the rest of her life we'll keep her on monthly Revolution as a preventative. Your vet needs to run the lungworm test (it's more expensive...I had to pay around $150) but it's the only way to determine if your cat has lungworm. With a diagnosis, you're just treating secondary infections and not the cause. The preferred antibiotic treatment is usually 10-14 days, orally. Another symptom my vet noticed is he could hear restricted breathing as my kitten inhaled.
My kitten still has a cough now and then but it's probably from scarred lung tissue, or slight inflammation. With winter arriving and less humidity in the house, I won't be surprised if the dry air may bothers her sometimes.

May be time for you to seek a second opinion.......

Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/cat/condition/lungworms

Typo correction: "With a diagnosis, you're just treating secondary infections and not the cause" should have read "without a diagnosis".

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Noey
Ragdoll cat
4 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

wet cough, almost daily

I adopted a cat in Portland, Oregon, that had been brought up from Texas (as part of the relocation of shelter animals there after the hurricane). She was skinny, and had not been spayed, so the shelter thought she'd been a street cat (and had already had kittens!) She would sometimes cough, that weird cough where she'd stick her neck out. At first I thought it was just hairball coughing, but she never produced a hairball (well, once she did after a few months), but the coughing continued. I just figured she had kitty asthma and thought i'd look into getting an inhaler for her, etc. Then we moved cross country, and she had a respiratory emergency - i woke up to her having labored breathing, and so i rushed her to emergency vet, and they put her in oxygen tank, and gave her antibiotics and steroids for a few weeks. She seemed to improve. The cough is constant, she coughs at least once every few days. After she has been off the meds, her cough sounds...wetter. I took her to the vet again, and she offered several possible causes: pneumonia (treatment with antibiotics), lungworm (treatment with dewormer) and just bad kitty asthma (lifelong treatment with inhaled steroids). I'm trying to be systematic about diagnosis to figure out the real culprit, but would appreciate advice. Besides the cough, Noey (my kitty) seems otherwise fine. She has a great appetite, she plays and runs around, and no eye or nasal discharge out of the ordinary. As step 1 i had the doctor give her an antibiotic shot, to see if it helps. Next I intend to get a fecal test and do deworming, and then if that doesnt' help, give up and do steroids.

Hello...I read your post after googling same systems one of my cats has. I haven't taken him to my vet yet...bc same as Noey...'Barlow' has only the one symptom, the 'gagging' horrible cough like something's stuck in his throat. I haven't had Barlow but a few months, somone just dropped him off one day and he was on my patio looking in the sliding glass door...I opened it and he ran in!! I've kept him downstairs away from my other cats til I get him tested for FIV and such...

I just wanted to make a comment to ur post ...since u have taken Noey to the Vet Twice already I'm soo surprised that a fecal test hasn't been done?? That's usually the first thing all vets do...rather than the Vet treating her for something that the Vet hasn't even diagnosed her with...like a 'trial and error' ...I think I would take her to a different vet and just get a reg checkup like fecal exam and blood work ...might save time and money and prevent Noey from unnecessary shots and meds

I have a 6 month old kitten that I rescued in Miss. (when she was 3 months old), then brought to Oregon. She started coughing at least 3 times a day and my vet suspected Lungworm. She had fecal tests done, blood panel, was wormed again, given antibiotics for possible secondary infection, and started on Revolution. Another fecal test was done a month later and even though the fecal test was not specific for lungworm, the lab found lungworm larvae in her stool. My kitten never ran a fever and otherwise acted like a healthy kitten. At this point treatment was to continue monthly Revolution. Since it can take months to rid lungworm from the system, we waited two months before the vet ran the test that is specific for lungworm and she tested negative. If she had tested positive the vet would have changed to a stronger treatment. In my kitten's case, the Revolution was enough to kill the infestation she had, so for the rest of her life we'll keep her on monthly Revolution as a preventative.
Your vet needs to run the lungworm test (it's more expensive...I had to pay around $150) but it's the only way to determine if your cat has lungworm. With a diagnosis, you're just treating secondary infections and not the cause. The preferred antibiotic treatment is usually 10-14 days, orally.
Another symptom my vet noticed is he could hear restricted breathing as my kitten inhaled.
May be time for a second opinion.......

I have a 6 month old kitten that I rescued in Miss. (when she was 3 months old), then brought to Oregon. She started coughing at least 3 times a day and my vet suspected Lungworm. She had fecal tests done, blood panel, was wormed again, given antibiotics for possible secondary infection, and started on Revolution. Another fecal test was done a month later and even though the fecal test was not specific for lungworm, the lab found lungworm larvae in her stool. My kitten never ran a fever and otherwise acted like a healthy kitten. At this point treatment was to continue monthly Revolution. Since it can take months to rid lungworm from the system, we waited two months before the vet ran the test that is specific for lungworm and she tested negative. If she had tested positive the vet would have changed to a stronger treatment. In my kitten's case, the Revolution was enough to kill the infestation she had, so for the rest of her life we'll keep her on monthly Revolution as a preventative.
Your vet needs to run the lungworm test (it's more expensive...I had to pay around $150) but it's the only way to determine if your cat has lungworm. With a diagnosis, you're just treating secondary infections and not the cause. The preferred antibiotic treatment is usually 10-14 days, orally.
Another symptom my vet noticed is he could hear restricted breathing as my kitten inhaled.

My kitten still has the sporatic cough but with winter setting in and humidity in the house being lower, I won't be surprised if it irritates her scarred lungs.

May be time for you to seek a second opinion.......

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Zephyr
Domestic shorthair
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Coughing and Wheezing
Wheezing
Coughing

My 7 year old formerly feral cat has developed a constant cough that produces nothing. I thought it was a hairball problem when it started months ago but now it is throughout the day. Her breathing is fine otherwise.

No weight loss, no vomiting, no stool issues, nothing being spit up, no eating issues (she is a little overweight.) He stays inside but was on my small back porch for 5 minutes with me once in the Fall. She used to have some type of mild, short seizures but the vet thought that they were mild and infrequent enough to be considered Well Managed. She also had a Calici infection when her colony was rescued (25 cats living along the Chicago River) and brought to a shelter. Other than that, no issues. She is not current on vaccinations.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without examining Zephyr, I am not sure what might be causing the cough. Cats can be affected by bronchitis, asthma, and tumors in their chest. It would be best to have her examined by your veterinarian, as they will be able to assess her breathing, determine what the source of the cough may be, and prescribe appropriate medications. I hope that everything goes well for her.

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cezar
dog
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

lythargic
shortness of breath
Rapid Heartbeat
Panting

Medication Used

Theophylline
Chlorpheniramine

my chiquaqua has the symptoms of lungworms that are described in cats. i took him to the vet and was given chlorpheniramine for allergies and theophylline and was told he has bronchitis but its not getting any better. could it be lungworms

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Lungworms in dogs is becoming a bigger problem than it was in the past and should be considered along with other causes; allergies, infections, heart failure, parasites among other causes should also be considered in these cases. Speak with your Veterinarian about lungworms and the use of fenbendazole (effective against the common lungworms in dogs). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Chai
Selkirk Rex
17 Weeks
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Constipation
skinny
Pot Belly
Sleepy

Hi there,

Dewormed my kitten (4 months) with drontal tablet (24 hrs ago) and profender topical (3 days ago). She has a significant pot belly but after the topical wormer the fattiness around her spine has disappeared and she now feels quite skinny, her pot belly has remained but potentially decreased in size. I have noticed she is breathing what I would consider quite heavy for a kitten. She seems constipated and has not pooed for over 24hrs. She is eating and drinking normally. She is a Selkirk Rex so I would say she is relatively quiet regardless.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
There are some parasites in kittens that are not treated by those medications, and it may be a good idea to have a fecal sample analyzed to make sure that you treated all the parasites that may have been there.

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Ruby and Ike
Cat
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

worm on floor

Hi,
We have two cats about 21/2 years old. Brother and sister. Never have been outside, always given Revolution on time, fed Science Diet since we got them at 6 weeks, regular trips to the vet. Yet, tonight we found a Lungworm on the floor squirming around. No idea how they could have gotten this but its in a glass jar now. Since they get Revolution how could they have gotten Lungworm?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Are you sure that the parasite that you saw was a lungworm? That is very uncommon, especially in cats that are are well taken care of as yours. I cannot see when they would have come into contact with that parasite. If you can collect the worm in a baggie and take it to your veterinarian, they may be able to ease your mind as far as the type of worm that you have seen. They will also be able to treat it if needed.

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Stan
Shorthair
3 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Croup/cough
Stuffiness
short of breath

Medication Used

Doxycycline

I am not sure if my kitten has lungworm, but he has been having some of the symptoms. I have had him to the vet twice in a week. The vet said that his lungs are clear and didn't see any polyps in the throat when he was thought to have had one. He is losing weight. Does anyone have any suggestions. I am desperate. Antibiotics are not helping.

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Sirius
chinchilla x ragdoll
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing
Loud Breathing
high temperature
Rapid breathing
Coughing

I've taken my cat to the vet with a cough, high temp and rapid breathing, he was diagnosed with a upper respiratory infection. I was given a week of antibiotics and anti inflammatories however we have finished the course and his symptoms have returned. Nevertheless I do not believe that it was a URI as he does not have runny eyes/nose, he is not lethargic and still has an interest in his his food. Personally I believe it to be feline lungworm and we have had an infestation in our garden and he often drinks from puddles ect. I cannot afford xrays for him but want to treat him for this, what can i do?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Lungworm should be considered in cases of respiratory distress in cats; treatment is relatively straightforward with a variety of different products, selamectin is a good product to give and should be part of your parasite control program in your home. Please see the links below. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/gasp-why-worry-about-feline-lungworms www.msdvetmanual.com/respiratory-system/lungworm-infection/overview-of-lungworm-infection

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Dewey
domestic short hair
4 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

We have been feeding a male feral cat for about 3 years. He is very shy and cannot be approached except when feeding we can stand by him. He has recently developed a cough, and his coat looks unhealthy, and his eyes look somewhat bleary. He is probably 3 or 4 years old. He is still eating, although his appetite seems a little less. We could probably trap him in a cage, although at this point it would be very traumatic. Is there any way we could get anti-biotics or Revolution possibly to treat him without catching him?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Without having a veterinary examination to see what is wrong with him, you won't be able to get medications, no. There are over the counter flea medications available without a prescription, but for medical treatment, we can't treat animals that we don't see, unfortunately. Antibiotics and Revolution may not be what he needs. If you have a mobile veterinarian in your area, that may be an option to have him seen and determine what is wrong with him. I hope that he is okay.

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Petey
Cat
6 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Rapid breathing
Noisy Breathing
Coughing

My cat has been breathing rapid and shallow. It’s kind of noisy too & when you pick him up it sounds bad like he is loudly sighing. Sometimes he has a little cough. He is 6 months old. He has previously been treated for worms... intestinal and lung. I’m wondering if it’s lung worms or he has an URI.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Without examining Petey I cannot say whether there is a recurrence of lungworms or if there is another cause like respiratory tract infection or another cause; in this instance given the rapid shallow breathing and apparent discomfort when being picked up you should have your Veterinarian examine him to determine a cause so that treatment can be given. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Ivy
Ivy
18 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Coughing

Medication Used

Antibiotics and mebendazole

My cat is Ivy and she has problems with her respiratory system. She hasn't been able to eat for over a week and she has been coughing terribly. She was given antibiotics but she's not better and she just gave birth to 4kittens. Please what should I do as I don't have money for drip as prescribed by the Vet.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Ivy may need further veterinary care, and there may not be anything that you can do at home, unfortunately. If she cannot eat, she will no be able to survive for very long. Since your veterinarian has seen her, it may be a good idea to call them, let them know that the medications did not help but that you cannot afford the recommended treatment, and see if they have any other less expensive suggestions for Ivy.

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