Merck Manual

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Types of Flukes that Infect Cats

Types of Flukes that Infect Cats

Class

Species (Common Name)

How Contracted

Signs

Intestinal flukes

Nanophyetus salmincola (salmon poisoning fluke); found in northwestern US, southwestern Canada, and Siberia

Cats eat raw or improperly prepared salmon and similar fish

Heavy infection causes enteritis (inflammation of the intestines). Infection is compounded by rickettsial infection carried by flukes (“salmon poisoning disease”).

Alaria species; found in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Japan

Cats eat hosts (frogs, reptiles, rodents)

Heavy infection can cause bleeding in the lungs (larval migration damage) or enteritis (inflammation of the intestines caused by adult flukes).

Liver flukes

Opisthorchis species; found in eastern Europe, Italy, parts of Asia

Cats eat certain fish

Longterm presence causes thickening and scarring of bile and/or pancreatic duct walls. Fluid may build up in the abdomen. Liver or pancreatic cancer has been seen in longterm and severe cases.

Platynosomum concinnum; found in southeastern US, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean Islands, South America, Malaysia, Hawaii and other Pacific islands, and parts of Africa

Cats acquire parasite by eating infected lizards and frogs

Mild cases seen as general unthriftiness. Severe cases (“lizard poisoning”) characterized by loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, and enlarged abdomen, leading to death.

Pancreatic fluke

Eurytrema procyonis; found in eastern US

Rare; cats acquire by feeding on infected snails or possibly insects

Weight loss and intermittent vomiting, but may cause no signs.