Well it's been a year and a half since we last blogged and we are back with a very important cause!
Lungworm is now widespread across much of the United Kingdom with two thirds of vets reporting they have experienced at least one case within the last year. Sadly many cases are not reported so the true extent of the problem is not really known.
So what is lungworm and how is it spread? Slugs and snails carry the lungworm larvae which can then be eaten by your dog. They don't have to actually eat the slug or snail (yuk!) as even their slime trails can spread the parasite. This means dogs who drink from puddles, eat grass, have toys or water bowls outside can also be at risk if an infected slug or snail has come into contact with them. The parasite then travels through the dog’s body eventually ending up in the heart. If left untreated your dog’s health can rapidly deteriorate and it can even result in death. Dogs of all ages and breeds can become infected but younger dogs seem to have a higher risk of being infected.
Unlike fleas or ticks, you can’t see lungworm and your dog may not initially show any signs of infection, but here are some of the symptoms of lungworm in dogs to look out for which may suggest your dog could have lungworm:
- Changes in behaviour. Your dog may appear depressed, lethargic or experience seizures.
- Breathing problems. Your dog may be coughing or tiring quickly.
- Poor blood clotting. Your dog may be experiencing nose bleeds, anaemia (paleness around eyes and gums) or excessive bleeding from minor wounds and cuts.
- General sickness. Your dog may experience weight loss, reduced appetite or diarrhoea and vomiting.
It all sounds a little scary doesn't it! Well the good news is that lungworm can be easily prevented. It’s important to remember that conventional worming tablets often don’t cover lungworm, but there are monthly preventative treatments available to ensure your pet is protected. Lungworm treatment for dogs are only available from your vet, so our best advice is to go and speak to your vet about what is available.
We checked the number of confirmed cases within our local area (within a 50 mile radius) and a shocking 1311 cases have been reported! If you're interested you can check how things are in your local area too on the lungworm website www.lungworm.co.uk/lungworm-map
We hope this has been helpful and that all of our furry friends will now be protected against lungworm!
Licks and woofs, Bruno x
· Reported cases based on number of cases reported to Bayer by veterinary practices in the UK and Ireland since February 2017
· Conboy et al WAAVP 2015
· Survey of 300 UK * Ireland Vets, conducted by Bryter in March 2017