I have never heard of a cat eating a snail unless it is cooked and the cat is French. This then is an oversimplification.
Out of several different species, there are two types of lungworm that affect cats. They are thin and about one centimeter in length, in old numbers that means a little less than half an inch. One of them has the Latin name Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (a bit of a mouthful!). This is the lungworm most commonly found in cats but still uncommonly encountered.
Lungworm in cats - Lungworm lifecycle - a modern day saga
The life cycle of this more common lungworm in cats is uncommon. The worm is passed in cat feces. From there it is ingested by snails. From there the snail is eaten by a bird or rodent. From there the cat catches and eats the bird or rodent. From there the eggs hatch in the cats intestine and then adults migrate to the lungs in the bloodstream. In the lungs the lungworms lay eggs. These eggs migrate up (coughed up) to the windpipe. From the windpipe they are ingested into the stomach and then passed in feces and so the cycle restarts. Phew.........!
The majority of cats show no symptoms of the presence of lungworms. Of those that do they have a chronic dry cough that is in fact not due to the lungworm but a secondary bacterial infection.
Other symptoms are:
That is where we hand over to a veterinarian.
Lungworm in cats to cat health problems
Lungworm in cats - Sources:
- Daily Mail
- Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin