LUNGWORM IN DOGS

Following one of the wettest summers on record, the population of slugs and snails in the garden has dramatically increased.  This is not only bad news for your plants and flowers but can be potentially dangerous for your dog.

Slugs and snails can carry the life-threatening parasite Angiostrogylus vasoru, commonly known as Lungworm.  The adult of this parasite infects dogs and lives in their heart and major blood vessels that supply the lungs.  The larvae of the parasite is then passed out in dogs faeces and ingested by slugs and snails where it develops and waits to be eaten by another dog.

 

Dogs can become infected with Lungworm when they accidentally (or purposefully) ingest a slug or snail.  Many dogs will eat grass in the garden or on a walk and if there is a slug or snail attached to the piece of grass it will also be eaten.  Dogs that drink from puddles or that have outdoor water bowls are also at risk from swallowing an infected slugs or snail.  They can also be accidentally eaten when a dog plays with its toys in the garden.  Some dogs actually eat slugs and snails when they find them and these dogs are at the greatest risk.

To watch Lungworm video click here – lungworm

Lungworm infection was initially common in Southern England but recent research shows that the parasite is now widespread beyond these areas and that 37% of vets had positively identified cases.

Symptoms of Lungworm in dogs can be varied but include coughing, lethargy (becoming tired easily, depression), problems with blood clotting (nosebleeds, anaemia) and general poor health.

Lungworm is not treated by the conventional use of worming tablets given every three months (which treat intestinal Roundworm and Tapeworm) but needs to be controlled by using a monthly spot on treatment. This treatment will also treat your dog for fleas and roundworm.  It is also vitally important to clean up after your dog on walks to prevent the spread of Tape, Round and Lungworms.

For more information on protecting your dog from Lungworm contact our Veterinary Nurses or go to www.lungworm.co.uk to see more information and pictures.