April 2018: Vet's Advice
Despite the recent weather, it is officially spring time. Spring also means peak activity time for slugs and snails. While we may be concerned about the threat these gastropods pose to our garden flowers, they also pose a very serious risk to our pet dogs. As our dogs are enjoying the great outdoors, they can pick up parasites such as lungworm.
Lungworm is a parasitic worm which affects dogs and foxes. Once your pet becomes infected, adult lungworms live in their heart and the major blood vessels supplying the lungs, causing a variety of serious health problems. Lungworm is known as the ‘silent killer’ as symptoms can go unnoticed for months, even years, before death. Symptoms include changes in behaviour, weight loss, breathing difficulties, coughing, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain. All ages and breeds are susceptible to lungworm infection; however, dogs that are known to eat slugs and snails are considered higher risk.
Unfortunately, lungworm is gradually becoming more common. Recent studies have shown that lungworm is now found throughout most of the UK. However, lungworm infections can be prevented with monthly treatments as recommended by your veterinary surgeon.
If your dog displays symptoms of lungworm infection, please seek medical advice.