Lungworm in Dogs

Lungworm infection in dogs, caused by the parasite Angiostrongylus vasorum, is spreading. A recent nationwide survey of UK vets has revealed that over 25 per cent of those questioned had either confirmed or suspected a case of this potentially fatal condition, yet as few as six per cent of dog owners had even heard of the disease.

Dogs become infected with the lungworm (also called French heartworm) through eating slugs and snails which carry the larvae of the parasite. Infections were most common in parts of Ireland, Wales and southern England. However, recent cases in Scotland mean the parasite is now a nationwide threat and dogs in our area may be at risk.

Lungworm is a particularly dangerous condition, as if left untreated, it is often fatal. Signs to look out for include coughing, reluctance to exercise, depression, weight loss, fits, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, paralysis and persistent bleeding from even small cuts. Dogs known to eat slugs and snails should also be considered candidates for a check-up with one of our vets, even if they are showing no outward signs of infection.

Fortunately there is much we can do to both prevent and treat this parasite. Please ask to speak to one of our vets for more details.

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