What is lungworm?
Lungworm is a type of parasitic worm, called Angiostrongylus Vasorum, which can affect dogs. The larvae of the lungworm parasite are carried by slugs and snails. It can be contracted if your dog comes into contact with slug and snail or faeces of another dog infected with Lungworm.
How could my pet catch lungworm?
The problem occurs when dogs eat these common garden pests, perhaps when rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up on their toys.
Lungworm infection can cause serious health problems in dogs, and can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated.
Dogs that are infected with lungworm spread the parasite as the larvae of the parasite are expelled in the dog’s poo. This increases the likelihood of other dogs becoming infected.
Who or what is at risk?
As well as dogs, foxes can become infected with lungworm and have been heavily implicated in the spread of the parasite across the country.
Surprisingly, frogs can also carry the larvae, which presents and additional risk to dogs.
What are the symptom/effects of lungworm?
Not all dogs show visible signs of a lungworm infection straight away, but here are a few things to look out for:
- Breathing problems
- Coughing and wheezing
- Tiring easily
- Poor blood clotting
- Nose bleeds
- Excessive bleeding from even minor wounds/cuts
- Anaemia – paleness around eyes and gums
- Bleeding in the eye
- General sickness
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in behaviour
If in any doubt, please call your local surgery so we can book you in for an appointment straight away.
Ask your surgery for more information on worming products as not all treatments include lungworm prevention.
Can lungworm be treated?
If your dog is diagnosed with lungworm, we can treat your pet. Once diagnosed and treated, most dogs make a full recovery. The key to successful treatment is taking action early.
If you think that your dog may have picked up lungworm or could be at risk from picking up a lungworm infection, speak to your local team today.
If your dog gets infected with lungworm, it can cause them serious health problems and if not diagnosed and treated, can be fatal. Remember, if you are concerned about your dog, or pet’s health, please bring them into your local surgery.