Wikis > THE NEMATODES > Aphasmidida > Eucoleus aerophilus

Eucoleus aerophilus (Creplin, 1839) Dujardin, 1845

(FIGURES 4-57 through 4-58)

ETYMOLOGY:eu = good + coleus = sheath and aerophilus for lung loving.

SYNONYMS: Capillariaaerophila (Creplin, 1839)

HISTORY: The worm was found in a fox and name Trichosomaaeophilus by Creplin in 1839. Dujardin changed the name to Thominxaerophila in 1845, and then in 1915, Travassos transferred the worm to the genus Capillaria. However, in recent years the work of Moravec has come to be accepted and the worm has been assigned to the genus Eucoleus. This worm has been considered a major parasite of foxes where it can cause severe pathology (Christenson, 1938).

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION: This worm has been described from around the world, there have been relatively recent reports from the United States (Corwin et al., 1984)), Belgium (Thienpoint et al., 1981), Germany (Schulz, 1981), Italy (Trotti et al., 1990), Argentina (Radman et al., 1986), Japan (Matayoshi et al, 1996), andTasmania (Milstein and Goldsmid, 1997),

LOCATION IN HOST: These worms are found threaded through the mucosa of the trachea, bronchi, and bonchioles (Fig. 4-57).

PARASITE IDENTIFICATION: The eggs are 59 to 83 µm long by 26 to 40 µm wide. The surface of the egg has a net-like ornamentation (Fig. 4-58). The adults are typically seen most commonly in histologic sections, but when whole worms are removed the genus can be recognized by the long, spined spicular sheath of the male.

LIFE CYCLE: The life cycle of Eucoleus aerophilus has not been well described, but it is believed that direct ingestion of the egg with an infective larva is the most common route of infection (Campbell, 1991). The prepatent period is somewhere between three to five weeks. The eggs are deposited by the female within the tracts they have made in the mucosa, and the eggs slowly work their way to the surface. The eggs are then coughed up and swallowed to be passed in the feces. Once eggs are deposited on the soil they take about 40 days to become infectious.

CLINICAL PRESENTATION AND PATHOGENESIS: The main clinical signs reported in the cat include coughing and wheezing due to bronchiole disease. A bronchial pattern may be present on chest radiographs.

TREATMENT: Levamisole has been successfully used to treat infected cats (Endres 1976; Norsworthy, 1975).

EPIZOOTIOLOGY: Very little is known because of the poorly understood life cycle.

HAZARDS TO OTHER ANIMALS: The life cycle is believed to be direct, so cats could serve as sources of infection for other animals. This parasite can cause severe disease in foxes, thus, cats could serve as vectors of this agent under certain circumstances.

HAZARD TO HUMANS: Eucoleus has been reported as a human parasite in seven cases in Russia, one in Morocco, one in Iran, and one in the Ukraine (Beaver et al., 1984). In these cases the most common signs were acute bronchitis and bronchiolits, usually with asthma and a productive cough.

CONTROL/PREVENTION: Because the life cycle is direct, good fecal control is essential to prevent the disease from becoming a serious problem. In catteries or shelters, the number of infected animals could reach very high levels, thus, it is imperative tht under conditions of group housing that sanitation be well maintained, outdoors as well as indoors.


Campbell BG, Little MD. 1991. Identification of the eggs of a nematode (Eucoleusboehmi) from the nasal mucosa of North American dogs. JAVMA 198:1520-1523.

Christenson RO. 1938. Life history and epidemiological studies on the fox lungworm, Capillariaaerophila (Creplin, 1839). Livro Jub L. Travassos, 119-136.

Corwin RM, Pratt SE, McCurdy HD. 1984. Anthelmintic effect of febantyel/praziquantel paste in dogs and cats. Am J Vet Res 45:154-155.

Creplin FCH. 1839. Eingeweidewürmer, finnenwürmer, thierwürmer. Allg Encycl der Wissensch u Künste Ersch & Gruber, Lepzig 1st sect 32:277-302.

Dujardin F. 1845. Histoire naturelle des helminthes. Lib Encycl Roret, Paris. 655 pp.

Endres WA. 1976. Levamisole in treatment of Capillariaaerophila in a cat: a case report. Vet Med SA Comp 71:1553.

Matoyoshi M, Ameku Y, Keruma T, Kinjo E. 1996. Isolation of Pasteurella dagmatis from an Iriomote cat (Felisiriomotensis) with parasitic bronchopneumonia. J Jap Vet Med Assoc 49:879-883.

Milstein TC, Goldsmid JM. 1997. Parasites of feral cats from southern Tasmania and their potential significance. Aust Vet J 75:218-219.

Norsworthy GD. 1975. Feline lungworm treatmet case report. Fel Pract 5(3):14.

Radman N, Venturini L, Denegri G. 1986. Experimental confirmation of the presence in Argentina of Capillariaaerophila Creplin, 1839 (Nematoda, Capillaridae).Rev Iberica Parasitol 46:267-272.

Schulz HP. 1981. Three frequently seen nematode infections of cats: Aelurostrongylusabstrusus, Capillariaaerophila, Ollulanustricuspis. Zeitschrift fur Versuchstierkunde 23:186.

Thienpoint D, Vanparijs O, Hermans L. 1981. Epidemiology of helminthiases of the cat in Belgium.The prevalence of Ollulanustricuspis. Rec Med Vet l’Ecole d’Alfort 157:591-595.

Trotti GC, Corradini L, Visconti S. 1990. Parasitological investigations in a cattery in Ferrara. Parassitologia 32:42-43.


Figure 4-57. Eucoleusaerophilus. Histological section through the bronchiolar mucosa showing sections of the worm embedded in the superficial epithelium.

Figure 4-58.Eucoleusaerophilus. Two views of the same egg of this worm. The left view shows the striations apparent in the eggshell when viewed at a focal plane near the center of the egg. The right view shows the surface of the eggshell with its fine lattice-work sculpturing (Illustration courtesy of Dr. Barry Campbell).