Features

October 2010 Issue

Lungworm: Tricky To Diagnose

Although the condition is relatively uncommon, the signs can mimic asthma ó so proper diagnosis is key.

Yearly, thousands of cats are brought to veterinary clinics throughout the U.S. showing the telltale signs of respiratory distress: labored breathing, chest constriction, wheezing and coughing. In the vast majority of cases, the animal will be diagnosed with asthma, a mechanical constriction of the airways, or bronchi, the narrow network of tubes that lead directly from the trachea to the lungs. The narrowing of the airways occurs when a catís immune system overreacts to the presence of an allergy-producing substance, such as cigarette smoke, dusty kitty litter or pollen and responds to the presence of the allergen by releasing stimulants that cause a swelling of the tissue (mucous membrane) lining the bronchi.

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