Slugs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
Slugs and snails …. not good news for puppy dog tails!
Have you ever noticed that your dog will consider eating just about anything? Even slugs and snails…..
The lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum (also known as French Heartworm) is a parasite that infects dogs. The adult lungworm lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs, where it can cause a host of problems. Left untreated, the infection can often be fatal.
Lungworm is carried by slugs and snails and if your dog comes into contact with these common garden pests there is a risk it could become infected. If you are concerned your dog has picked up, or is at risk from, picking up a lungworm infection, speak to your veterinary surgeon without delay.
It is important to recognise that lungworm is not prevented or treated by the conventional use of worming tablets when given every three months, or even every month. Thankfully, treatment of lungworm infection in dogs is widely available and easy to administer. Once diagnosed and treated, most dogs make a full recovery.
The key to successful treatment is taking action early.
• If your dog has eaten slugs or snails, but is not showing any symptoms, we would advise you to arrange a check up with your veterinary surgeon as a precaution.
• If your dog has had lungworm your vet may recommend regular check ups to allow early detection if your dog becomes re infected.
• If you own a number of dogs and one becomes infected, your vet may want to examine other dogs which share its environment. Even though one dog cannot infect another directly, as the parasite is only infective after first developing inside a slug or snail, dogs that share an environment where slugs and snails are present are at a higher risk
• In line with preventing worm infestations in your pets and family (the lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum does not infect humans), keep your garden and surrounding areas as free as possible from dog mess.
It is worth pointing out that cats can become infected with another type of lungworm (Aelurostrongylus abstrusus). However, infections seem to be rare and the outcome tends not to be as severe as in dogs. If you are worried that your cat may be showing symptoms similar to those described to the dog (particularly coughing), speak to your vet for advice.
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