Protect Your Dogs Against Lungworm
Vets are encouraging all dog owners to protect their pets from a potentially deadly parasite affecting many regions throughout the UK, particularly the south-west of England and South Wales.
As the name suggests, lungworm is a parasitic worm and is present in slugs, snails and amphibians e.g. frogs. These species are becoming more and more prevalent as the weather changes.
Katrina Cordell, Head Vet at Budget Vets warns. “A dog does not necessarily have to deliberately eat slugs/snails to contract the parasite, although some dogs will do. Even snail/slug mucus left on grass, your dog’s favourite toy or sticks that many owners like to throw for their dogs may be sufficient.”
The lungworm parasites will migrate from the dog’s intestines through the lungs and eventually to the central nervous system and brain, causing signs ranging from cough and diarrhoea to uncontrollable bleeding, serious fits and even death.
There are a range of treatments available to protect against this parasite which can be administered by their owners to treat dogs with it and prevent others from contracting it.
Commenting on the symptoms that dog owners should look out for, Katrina Cordell said, “If you notice that your dog has loose bowels, is not eating as much as they usually do and is losing weight these are common symptoms attributed to Lungworm. Other symptoms include dogs being out of breath, coughing and in some more extreme cases having fits.”
A vet will be able to diagnose the condition using a simple instant test which will confirm whether your dog has been in contact with the parasite and prescribe a suitable treatment. Dog owners should also consider washing any toys your pet might have and not leaving them outdoors but storing them out of reach of snails and slugs. Also when out walking your dog, try to refrain from throwing sticks.
All preventative healthcare should be kept up to date to keep your pet fully protected and healthy, including vaccination, flea and tick prevention and worming to include lungworm.