Lungworm infestation, caused by the parasite angiostrongylus vasorum, was once considered to be only a problem in Wales and the South West, but the last few years have seen cases reported in many other parts of the UK as well. The reason for this increase is unknown but it may be associated with the changing climate.
The lungworm parasite is spread by intermediate hosts including slugs, snails, and frogs, which thrive in warm, wet, weather. For dog owners this can be a problem, since it is difficult to detect whether your pet has had contact with slugs or snails. Slugs and snails are very small in infancy and hide on plant leaves, grass or animal’s toys; this leads to dogs accidentally eating infected slugs and snails or contacting infected slime.
Once swallowed the larvae migrate to the heart where they develop into adult worms. The adult worms lay eggs which hatch into larvae and in turn migrate into the airways of the lung. Larvae are then coughed up, swallowed, passed in the dog’s faeces.
There are many possible symptoms, although an infected dog may equally appear healthy. Persistent coughing, reluctance to exercise, depression, weight loss, fits, vomiting and diarrhoea are all possible symptoms.
In addition to regular worming, we recommend treating your pet against this serious threat. The good news is that it can be prevented by the simple us of a monthly spot-on. Please contact us for further details!