Can Cats Get Rat Lungworm? Discover the Hidden Dangers

Cats can get rat lungworm, a parasitic infection caused by ingesting infected rats or snails. Rat lungworm is a parasitic infection that can affect cats.

It is caused by the ingestion of infected rats or snails. This infection can be serious and even fatal for cats. We will explore what rat lungworm is, how it is transmitted to cats, the symptoms to watch out for, and the potential treatment options available.

It is important for cat owners to be aware of this infection and take necessary precautions to protect their pets. Stay tuned to learn more about rat lungworm and how it can affect cats.

What Is Rat Lungworm?

Origins Transmission Life Cycle
Rat lungworm is a parasitic nematode that belongs to the Angiostrongylus genus. The parasite is primarily transmitted through consumption of infected intermediate hosts, such as snails and slugs. Once ingested, the larvae migrate through the intestine and blood vessels, eventually reaching the lungs and central nervous system.
The infection is commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. Humans and animals can become accidental hosts by consuming contaminated produce or by eating infected intermediate hosts. Within the definitive host, the adult worms reproduce and lay eggs, which are expelled through the feces.

Rat lungworm infection can have varying symptoms depending on the host. In humans, it can cause meningitis, eosinophilic meningitis, or neurologic complications. While there is limited information on the susceptibility of cats to rat lungworm, it is theoretically possible for them to become infected through the ingestion of infected intermediate hosts.

Risks And Symptoms In Cats


Rat lungworm is a dangerous parasite that primarily affects rodents, but can also infect cats when they come into contact with infected snails or slugs. Cats that roam outdoors are particularly at risk. Identifying the signs of rat lungworm in felines can be challenging, as symptoms vary depending on the severity of the infection. However, some common indicators include lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, coughing, difficulty breathing, neurological issues, and even paralysis. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent potentially severe health complications in infected cats.

Untreated rat lungworm infection in cats may lead to meningitis, encephalitis, or other neurological disorders. These conditions can cause permanent damage to a cat’s nervous system and significantly impact their quality of life. It is important for cat owners to stay vigilant and take preventive measures to minimize the risk of their feline companions contracting rat lungworm. Keeping cats indoors, regularly checking for signs of snail or slug presence in the surroundings, and avoiding areas where these creatures are commonly found can significantly reduce the chances of exposure to the parasite and subsequent infection.

Preventive Measures For Cat Owners

Can cats get rat lungworm? As a cat owner, it is important to take preventive measures to protect your furry friend from this potentially dangerous parasite. Stay vigilant and keep your cat’s living area clean to reduce the risk of exposure.


Preventive Measures for Cat Owners Minimizing the risk of rat lungworm infection in cats
Stay informed Educate yourself about the rat lungworm disease, its symptoms, and transmission methods. Familiarize yourself with the areas where the parasite is prevalent.
Remove attractants Prevent rats and snails from entering your property by eliminating food sources, keeping garbage properly sealed, and clearing away any standing water.
Secure living areas Ensure your cat’s living area is well-maintained, clean, and free from rodents. Block any potential entry points such as small holes or gaps that could allow rats or snails to enter.
Supervise outdoor activities When your cat is outdoors, supervise their activities to limit exposure to potentially contaminated areas. Avoid letting them roam freely in areas where rats and snails are known to thrive.
Avoid raw prey Feeding your cat a balanced and commercially prepared diet reduces the risk of hunting and consuming infected rodents or snails.
Regular deworming Consult with your veterinarian about appropriate deworming protocols to prevent parasite infestation in your cat.


It is crucial to be aware of the potential dangers of rat lungworm for our feline friends. While cats are less likely to contract this parasite compared to rodents, it is still possible. Vigilance in maintaining a clean living environment, controlling rodent populations, and seeking prompt veterinary care are essential in protecting our cats from rat lungworm.

Stay proactive, stay informed, and always prioritize your cat’s health.

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