Parasitology Research

, Volume 114, Issue 12, pp 4463–4469 | Cite as

Respiratory nematodes in cat populations of Italy

  • Angela Di Cesare
  • Fabrizia Veronesi
  • Eleonora Grillotti
  • Simone Manzocchi
  • Stefania Perrucci
  • Paola Beraldo
  • Stefania Cazzin
  • Claudio De Liberato
  • Luciano A. Barros
  • Giulia Simonato
  • Donato Traversa
Original Paper


The occurrence of common respiratory parasites of domestic cats (the metastrongyloid “cat lungworm” Aelurostrongylus abstrusus and the trichuroid Capillaria aerophila) and of neglected respiratory nematodes of felids (Troglostrongylus brevior, Angiostrongylus chabaudi and Oslerus rostratus) was here evaluated in two and three geographical sites of Northern and Central Italy, respectively. In 2014–2015, individual fecal samples of 868 domestic cats were examined microscopically and genetically, and epidemiological data related to parasitic infections were evaluated as possible risk factors by binary logistic regression models. The most common parasite was A. abstrusus in both mono- and poli-specific infections, followed by T. brevior and C. aerophila, while cats scored negative for other parasites. Cats positive for A. abstrusus (1.9–17 % infection rate) and C. aerophila (0.9–4.8 % infection rate) were found in all examined sites, while cats scored positive for T. brevior (1–14.3 % infection rate) in four sites. Also, T. brevior was here found for the first time in a domestic cat from a mountainous area of Northern Italy. The occurrence of lungworms was statistically related to the presence of respiratory signs and more significant in cats with mixed infection by other lungworms and/or intestinal parasites. Cats living in site C of Central Italy resulted statistically more at risk of infection for lungworms than cats living in the other study sites, while animals ageing less than 1 year were at more risk for troglostrongylosis. Finally, the presence of lungworms was more significant in cats with mixed infection by other lungworms and/or intestinal parasites. These results are discussed under epidemiological and clinical points of views.


Aelurostrongylus abstrusus Troglostrongylus brevior Capillaria aerophila Lungworms Italy Diagnosis Epidemiology Risk factors 


  1. Barutzki D, Schaper R (2013) Occurrence and regional distribution of Aelurostrongylus abstrusus in cats in Germany. Parasitol Res 112:855–861PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Beraldo P, Massimo M, Pascotto E (2014) Analysis of the Helminthofauna of European wild cat in Friuli Venezia Giulia. Proceedings of XXVIII Congresso Nazionale Società Italiana di Parassitologia, Rome, p 225Google Scholar
  3. Biocca E. (1957) Angiostrongylus chabaudi n. sp. parassita del cuore e dei vasi polmonari del gatto selvatico (Felis silvestris). In: Proceedings of Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Classe di Scienze Fisiche, Matematiche e Naturali, 22, pp. 526–532 (In Italian)Google Scholar
  4. Brianti E, Gaglio G, Giannetto S, Annoscia G, Latrofa MS, Dantas-Torres F, Traversa D, Otranto D (2012) Troglostrongylus brevior and Troglostrongylus subcrenatus (Strongylida: Crenosomatidae) as agents of broncho-pulmonary infestation in domestic cats. Parasit Vectors 5:178PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Brianti E, Gaglio G, Napoli E, Falsone L, Giannetto S, Latrofa MS, Giannelli A, Dantas-Torres F, Otranto D (2013) Evidence for direct transmission of the cat lungworm Troglostrongylus brevior (Strongylida: Crenosomatidae). Parasitology 140:821–824CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Brianti E, Gaglio G, Napoli E, Falsone L, Giannelli A, Annoscia G, Varcasia A, Giannetto S, Mazzullo G, Otranto D (2014a) Feline lungworm Oslerus rostratus (Strongylida: Filaridae) in Italy: first case report and histopathological findings. Parasitol Res 113:3853–3857CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Brianti E, Giannetto S, Dantas-Torres F, Otranto D (2014b) Lungworms of the genus Troglostrongylus (Strongylida: Crenosomatidae): neglected parasites for domestic cats. Vet Parasitol 202:104–112Google Scholar
  8. Capári B, Hamel D, Visser M, Winter R, Pfister K, Rehbein S (2013) Parasitic infections of domestic cats, Felis catus, in western Hungary. Vet Parasitol 192:33–42CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Di Cesare A, Castagna G, Meloni S, Milillo P, Latrofa S, Otranto D, Traversa D (2011) Canine and feline infections by cardiopulmonary nematodes in Central and southern Italy. Parasitol Res 109(Suppl 1):S87–S96CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Di Cesare A, Castagna G, Otranto D, Meloni S, Milillo P, Latrofa MS, Paoletti B, Bartolini R, Traversa D (2012) Molecular detection of Capillaria aerophila, an agent of canine and feline pulmonary capillariosis. J Clin Microbiol 50:1958–1963PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Di Cesare A, Frangipane di Regalbono A, Tessarin C, Seghetti M, Iorio R, Simonato G, Traversa D (2014a) Mixed infection by Aelurostrongylus abstrusus and Troglostrongylus brevior in kittens from the same litter in Italy. Parasitol Res 113:613–618CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Di Cesare A, Otranto D, Latrofa MS, Veronesi F, Perrucci S, Lalosevic D, Gherman CM, Traversa D (2014b) Genetic variability of Eucoleus aerophilus from domestic and wild hosts. Res Vet Sci 96:512–515CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Di Cesare A, Iorio R, Crisi P, Paoletti B, Di Costanzo R, Dimitri CF, Traversa D (2015a) Treatment of Troglostrongylus brevior (Metastrongyloidea, Crenosomatidae) in mixed lungworm infections using spot-on emodepside. J Feline Med Surg 17:181–185CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Di Cesare A, Veronesi F, Frangipane di Regalbono A, Iorio R, Traversa D. (2015b) Novel molecular assay for the simultaneous identification of neglected lungworms and heartworms affecting cats. J Clin Microbiol 53:3009–3013Google Scholar
  15. Di Cesare A, Di Francesco G, Frangipane di Regalbono A, Eleni C, De Liberato C, Marruchella G, Iorio R, Malatesta D, Romanucci MR, Bongiovanni L, Cassini R, Traversa D (2015c) Retrospective study on the occurrence of the feline lungworms Aelurostrongylus abstrusus and Troglostrongylus spp. in endemic areas of Italy. Vet J 203:233–238CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Di Cesare A, Veronesi F, Traversa D (2015d) Felid lungworms and heartworms in Italy: more questions than answers? Trends Parasitol (in press)Google Scholar
  17. Diakou A, Di Cesare A, Aeriniotaki T, Traversa D (2014) First report of Troglostrongylus brevior in a kitten in Greece. Parasitol Res 113:3895–3898CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Falsone L, Brianti E, Gaglio G, Napoli E, Anile S, Mallia E, Giannelli A, Poglayen G, Giannetto S, Otranto D (2014) The European wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris) as reservoir hosts of Troglostrongylus brevior (Strongylida: Crenosomatidae) lungworms. Vet Parasitol 205:193–198CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Gerichter CB (1949) Studies on the nematodes parasitic in the lungs of Felidae in Palestine. Parasitology 39:251–262CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Grandi G, Calvi LE, Venco L, Paratici C, Genchi C, Memmi D, Kramer LH (2005) Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (cat lungworm) infection in five cats from Italy. Vet Parasitol 134:177–182CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Hanley JA, Lippmann-Hand A (1983) If nothing goes wrong, is everything right? Interpreting zero numerators. J Amer Med Assoc 249:1743–1745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jefferies R, Vrhovec MG, Wallner N, Catalan DR (2010) Aelurostrongylus abstrusus and Troglostrongylus sp. (Nematoda: Metastrongyloidea) infections in cats inhabiting Ibiza, Spain. Vet Parasitol 173:344–348CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Juste RA, Garcia AL, Mencía L (1992) Mixed infestation of a domestic cat by Aelurostrongylus abstrusus and Oslerus rostratus. Angew Parasitol 33:56–60PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Knaus M, Kusi I, Rapti D, Xhaxhiu D, Winter R, Visser M, Rehbein S (2011) Endoparasites of cats from the Tirana area and the first report on Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (Railliet, 1898) in Albania. Wien Klin Wochenschr 123(Suppl 1):31–35CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Krone O, Guminsky O, Meinig H, Herrmann M, Trinzen M, Wibbelt G (2008) Endoparasites spectrum of wild cats (Felis silvestris Schreber, 1777) and domestic cats (Felis catus) from the Eifel, Pfalz region and Saarland, Germany. Eur J Wildl Res 54:95–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mircean V, Titilincu A, Vasile C (2010) Prevalence of endoparasites in household cat (Felis catus) populations from Transylvania (Romania) and association with risk factors. Vet Parasitol 171:163–166CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Otranto D, Brianti E, Dantas-Torres F (2013) Troglostrongylus brevior and a non-existent “dilemma”. Trends Parasitol 29:517–518CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Otranto D, Cantacessi C, Dantas-Torres F, Brianti E, Pfeffer M, Genchi C, Guberti V, Capelli G, Deplazes P (2015) The role of wild canids and felids in spreading parasites to dogs and cats in Europe. Part II: Helminths and arthropods. Vet Parasitol. doi:10.1016/j.vetpar.2015.04.020 Google Scholar
  29. Paggi L (1959) Segnalazione, in Italia Centrale, di Troglostrongylus sp. parassita dei polmoni di felidi. Parassitologia 1:80–81 (in Italian) Google Scholar
  30. Riggio F, Mannella R, Ariti G, Perrucci S (2013) Intestinal and lung parasites in owned dogs and cats from Central Italy. Vet Parasitol 193:78–84CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Sloss MW, Kemp RL, Zajac AM (1994) Fecal examination: dogs and cats. In: Veterinary Clinical Parasitology, 6th edn. Iowa State University Press, AMESGoogle Scholar
  32. Steeb S, Hirzmann J, Eskens U, Volmer K, Bauer C (2014) Lungenwurm-Infektionen bei der Europäischen Wildkatze. Kompakt Vet 3:9 (in Deutsch) Google Scholar
  33. Tamponi C, Varcasia A, Brianti E, Pipia AP, Frau V, Pinna Parpaglia ML, Sanna G, Garippa G, Otranto D, Scala A (2014) New insights on metastrongyloid lungworms infecting cats of Sardinia, Italy. Vet Parasitol 203:222–226CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Traversa D (2014) Response to Otranto et al.: lungworms in domestic and wild felids: dilemmas still persisting. Trends Parasitol 30:53–54CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Traversa D, Di Cesare A (2013) Feline lungworms: what a dilemma. Trends Parasitol 2:423–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Traversa D, Di Cesare A (2014) Cardio-pulmonary parasitic nematodes affecting cats in Europe: unraveling the past, depicting the present, and predicting the future. Frontiers Vet Sci. doi:10.3389/fvets.2014.00011 Google Scholar
  37. Traversa D, Guglielmini C (2008) Feline aelurostrongylosis and canine angiostrongylosis: a challenging diagnosis for two emerging verminous pneumonia infections. Vet Parasitol 157:163–174CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Traversa D, Lia RP, Iorio R, Boari A, Paradies P, Capelli G, Avolio S, Otranto D (2008a) Diagnosis and risk factors of Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (Nematoda, Strongylida) infection in cats from Italy. Vet Parasitol 153:182–186CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Traversa D, Di Cesare A, Milillo P, Iorio R, Otranto D (2008b) Aelurostrongylus abstrusus in a feline colony from Central Italy: clinical features, diagnostic procedures and molecular characterization. Parasitol Res 103:1191–1196CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Traversa D, Di Cesare A, Milillo P, Iorio R, Otranto D (2009) Infection by Eucoleus aerophilus in dogs and cats: is another extra-intestinal parasitic nematode of pets emerging in Italy? Res Vet Sci 87:270–272CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Traversa D, Di Cesare A, Conboy G (2010) Canine and feline cardiopulmonary parasitic nematodes in Europe: emerging and underestimated. Parasit Vectors 3:62PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Traversa D, Di Cesare A, Lia RP, Castagna G, Meloni S, Heine J, Strube K, Milillo P, Otranto D, Meckes O, Schaper R (2011) New insights into morphological and biological features of Capillaria aerophila (Trichocephalida, Trichuridae). Parasitol Res 109(Suppl 1):S97–S104CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Traversa D, Romanucci M, Di Cesare A, Malatesta D, Cassini R, Iorio R, Seghetti M, Della SL (2014) Gross and histopathological changes associated with Aelurostrongylus abstrusus and Troglostrongylus brevior in a kitten. Vet Parasitol 201:158–162CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Traversa D, Lepri E, Veronesi F, Paoletti B, Simonato G, Diaferia M, Di Cesare A (2015) Metastrongyloid infection by Aelurostrongylus abstrusus, Troglostrongylus brevior and Angiostrongylus chabaudi in a domestic cat. Int J Parasitol. doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2015.05.005
  45. Varcasia A, Tamponi C, Brianti E, Cabras PA, Boi R, Pipia AP, Giannelli A, Otranto D, Scala A (2014) Angiostrongylus chabaudi Biocca, 1957: a new parasite for domestic cats? Parasit Vectors 7:588PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Varcasia A, Brianti E, Tamponi C, Pipia AP, Cabras PA, Mereu M, Dantas-Torres F, Scala A, Otranto D (2015) Simultaneous infection by four feline lungworm species and implications for the diagnosis. Parasitol Res 114:317–321CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Veronesi F, Di Cesare A, Lepri E, Morganti G, Vercillo F, Grelli D, Cassini R, Marangi M, Iorio R, Ragni B, Traversa D (2015) Occurrence of cardio-pulmonary nematodes in European wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris) from Italy. Abstract 25th International Conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP), LiverpoolGoogle Scholar
  48. Watson TG, Nettles VF, Davidson WR (1981) Endoparasites and selected infectious agents in bobcats (Felis rufus) from West Virginia and Georgia. J Wildl Dis 17:547–554CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Di Cesare
    • 1
  • Fabrizia Veronesi
    • 2
  • Eleonora Grillotti
    • 1
    • 3
  • Simone Manzocchi
    • 4
  • Stefania Perrucci
    • 5
  • Paola Beraldo
    • 6
  • Stefania Cazzin
    • 7
  • Claudio De Liberato
    • 8
  • Luciano A. Barros
    • 1
    • 9
  • Giulia Simonato
    • 10
  • Donato Traversa
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of TeramoTeramoItaly
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly
  3. 3.Ambulatorio Veterinario Centro ItaliaRietiItaly
  4. 4.Novara Day Lab - IDEXX LaboratoriesMonticelloItaly
  5. 5.Department of Veterinary ScienceUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  6. 6.Division of Veterinary Pathology (DIAL)University of UdineUdineItaly
  7. 7.Istituto Zooprofilattico delle VenezieLegnaroItaly
  8. 8.Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Latium e della Toscana “M. Aleandri”RomeItaly
  9. 9.Facultade de Medicina Veterinaria MSV/UFF NiteroiNiteroiBrazil
  10. 10.Department of Animal Medicine, Production and HealthUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly

Personalised recommendations