Thanks Again to Tracey for bringing this to our attention.
We don’t want to frighten anyone but being aware is half the battle in dealing with this:
Lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum) is a nasty parasite on the rise in the UK.
1. Slimy slugs and snails are the main culprits for spreading Lungworm which is why greedy pups who eat these slimy garden critters are considered at high risk. We therefore highly recommend not leaving dog toys out in the garden at night, where in an average UK garden a reported +20,000 slugs and snails live!
2. Dogs of all ages and breeds can become infected, but younger dogs are more prone to picking up bugs including Lungworm.
3. Infected pooches spread the parasite into the environment as the Lungworm larvae is expelled in their poo, and slugs and snails that come into contact with the poo become infected, increasing the chances of other dogs becoming infected.
4. Foxes can also become infected with Lungworm, and have been implicated in the spread across the country.
5. Other slimy garden delicacies like frogs can also carry the larvae, presenting another risk to your precious pooch.
Unfortunately with more people travelling in the UK with their pets, and foxes roaming up to 50km, the risk of Lungworm spreading around the country will continue, so it’s important to know the effects, symptoms and life cycle of the Lungworm.
All dog owners need to keep an eye out for the following symptoms but it is worth bearing in mind that not all pets show symptoms in the early stages of infection:
• General Sickness (Diarrhoea, Poor Appetite, Vomiting, Weight loss)
• Breathing problems (Coughing, Tiring Easily)
• Behaviour Changes (Depression, Seizures, Lethargy)
• Poor Blood Clotting (Nose Bleeds, Excessive Bleeding, Bleeding into the Eye)
The distribution of lungworm varies from area to area and prevalence can vary from year to year, due to climate and the presence of vectors in the local environment. Inquisitive dogs have plenty of opportunities for coming into contact with gastropods carrying the parasites’ larvae. Chewing slugs and snails or licking their slimy trails can result in infection.
Much as we would like to protect our dogs from illness and falling foul of such conditions as this, short of locking them away in a cupboard, there is no real failsafe way to stop them from contracting this disease. We can reduce the instance or likelihood though by being aware.
• It is a good idea, for instance, to talk to your vet about this problem and to ask if there have been any reported case in your area from time to time.
• You can also try to keep your dog away from slugs and snails etc… If the weather has been extra wet then be aware that these pesky creatures will be out in force. If possible avoid walking in long grass and wooded areas where you cannot see exactly what your dog is up to.
Not all worming treatments are effective against the Lungworm parasite so make sure you always check with your vets. Once diagnosed and treated, most Dogs make a full recovery, but the key to successful treatment is taking action early!