Lungworm infection in dogs is something we often hear a lot about. It used to be a rare condition – but is on the increase in certain areas of the country. As we are now starting to travel about a bit more after lockdown it is important for you to understand the risks posed by this parasite.
Lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum) is an infection caused by a roundworm parasite which is carried by slugs and snails. Dogs become infected when they consume these animals or the trails of slime they leave behind on grass, in puddles, outdoor water bowls or toys that have been left outside in grass. Unlike many diseases, Lungworm cannot be passed from dog to dog. The worm needs slugs and snails to act as a host in order to grow and develop.
Incidents of Lungworm being diagnosed in dogs were originally more prevalent in the South East and in South Wales, but there have been an increasing number of cases in other parts of the country, including Scotland. However it is still a rare diagnosis.
Many dogs won’t initially show symptoms of Lungworm and it can go unnoticed for quite some time as the symptoms can easily be confused with other illnesses.
Dogs may show no signs of disease or may present with coughing or bleeding, which in severe cases can be fatal. Luckily, Lungworm infections in South Oxfordshire are extremely rare – but if you are travelling to other parts of the country, it is important to check that your routine worming treatment prevents against this disease. If the condition is recognised promptly, treatment is effective.
Preventative treatment involves giving monthly prescription worming tablets, or spot-on treatments. Not all worming treatments offer lungworm prevention. So, if you are unsure please contact us for advice. It is also good practice to reduce the chances of your dog contracting lungworm by following simple methods of dog hygiene such as ensuring faeces are picked up promptly and disposed of correctly and not leaving toys or bowls outside for snails/slugs to climb over.
Many over the counter anti-parasitic treatments have poor efficacy so we would recommend a veterinary dispensed treatment. If you're not already a member, consider joining our Lifetime Care Club to have all of these products included. Your vet can help you choose the best one for your pet based on their lifestyle and habits.
Membership of our Lifetime Care Club includes parasitic treatment - please see here for further details.