Lungworm is a parasite that can cause serious health problems in dogs and can even be fatal if left untreated. As an adult worm, it lives in the heart and blood vessels that supply the lungs in dogs and foxes.
Dogs catch lungworm through eating slugs and snails which carry the larvae of the parasite. While most dogs do not routinely eat slugs and snails for pleasure, they may do so by accident e.g. when drinking from a puddle, licking grass or generally just having a sniff around. Some dogs on the other hand do enjoy munching on these garden pests and although not every snail or slug carries the worm, if your pet regularly eats snails/slugs then there is a risk of them picking up this worm at some point.
Symptoms can be varied, but can include; coughing, tiring easily, weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive bleeding from minor wounds and seizures.
What can I do to protect my pet?
Once diagnosed and treated, most dogs make a full recovery but the key to successful treatment is taking action early. The best way to avoid your pet getting lungworm however is to speak with your vet about preventative solutions. Our vets can prescribe spot-on treatment which is applied to the back of your dog’s neck. By applying this regularly, you can prevent your dog from getting an established lungworm infection.
For more information visit www.lungworm.co.uk