Rat Lungworm Disease in Hawaii

In November and December 2018, two young dogs in the Honolulu area were diagnosed with Rat Lungworm Disease, caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis. Both puppies presented with spinal hyperesthesia, hindlimb weakness, and proprioceptive ataxia. One dog had peripheral eosinophilia; all other hematology and serum biochemistry tests were unremarkable. Plain radiographs and computed tomography scans (with/without) contrast were performed but did not reveal a cause for the neurologic signs. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis in both patients revealed eosinophilic pleocytosis and real-time PCR testing for Angiostrongylus cantonensis on CSF was positive in both dogs, confirming a diagnosis of neural angiostrongylisias; PCR testing for other canine neural pathogens was negative.

Both dogs responded rapidly to treatment with corticosteroids and recovered clinically within 2 weeks. Neither dog was observed ingesting a snail or slug, but both dogs had environmental access to them. Dr. Richard Malik (University of Sydney) spoke on this topic in May 2018 and recommends treating with corticosteroids (up to 6 weeks), +/- anthelmintics (if early infection when the larvae are still small and not yet in the CNS), and pain medication or other symptomatic care as needed. He also recommends antibiotics to address the issue of translocated bacteria carried by migrating larvae.

If you have any suspected cases or have questions regarding diagnosing, treating, or preventing rat lungworm infection in dogs or other animals, please call Dr. Jenee Odani (Extension Veterinarian) at 808-956-3847 or email jsodani@hawaii.edu. She is especially interested in conducting post mortem testing on suspected cases.

In Remembrance of Timothy Lau, DVM


Devoted husband and father and beloved island veterinarian, Dr. Timothy S.Y. Lau, 83, died on March 31, 2018 with his family by his side. Known to many as “Tim” or “Timmy” but known to most as “Dr. Lau”, he was born in Honolulu on August 1, 1934 to Chun Kwong and Pui Lan (Chang) Lau and married his college sweetheart, Violet Lee, in 1957. Dr. Lau attended St. Louis High School and the University of Hawaii earning a B.S. in Animal Husbandry. He brought his multitasking skills with him to Ohio State University earning a Master’s degree in Animal Science while producing twin sons and to Iowa State University earning a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine while producing two daughters.

Kalihi Pet Clinic opened its doors in 1965 at Kalihi Shopping Center. The early years found Dr. Lau holding down two additional jobs. With a heavy dose of caring and compassion, Dr. Lau’s practice grew along with his popularity. After 40 years in Kalihi, Dr. Lau moved his practice to its current location on Beretania Street in Moiliili where it continues to serve the community. Regardless of the location, his clients all remember the jam-packed waiting rooms, how quick and thorough he was, with great stories and a smile tossed in for good measure. He was a man in his element. After fifty years, he finally retired at the age of 80 from his lifelong passion.

Being a veterinarian may have defined much of his life, but he was so much more to those who knew him. Generous and thoughtful, he always had a soft spot for someone in a tight situation or someone just starting out and struggling to make it. Aside from his veterinary practice, his interests included physical fitness, martial arts, volleyball and golf. But his family always came first. He is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Violet, his sons, Keith (Jasmin) and Kent (Gwen) Lau, his daughters, Stacey (Ian) Zwicker and Allison (Ryan) Mau, four grandchildren, Taylor, Morgan and Ian Welsh and Jared Lau, and siblings Merton (Claire), Lester (Gloria) and LaVay Lau.

Funeral service will be held on Monday May 14, 2018 at 5 pm at Diamond Head Mortuary Chapel 535 18th Ave Honolulu. Viewing from 3:00 pm until the time of service. Private burial. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Hawaiian Humane Society. Arrangements Provided By: Diamond Head Mortuary