Lungworm is an infection spread though snails and slugs throughout the UK and can be fatal to your dog.
How your dog can become infected:
Infection can occur by eating snails or slugs hosting the larvae. Puppies are especially at risk being curious, wanting to play and explore.
Dogs may incidentally ingest slugs when drinking from water puddles or dog bowls left in the garden, picking up toys in the garden or by eating grass that may host small slugs. It is also possible that infection may be transmitted by ingesting slug trails, often found on grass or on dog toys left in the garden.
The worms infest the intestines and travel to the lymph nodes and heart. The secondary larvae are deposited and the new generation of worms grow in the lungs. This is the fatal stage as the developing worms induce a severe inflammatory response that destroys lung tissue, which, if untreated, can result in death. Worms are coughed up, ingested and passed out through faeces, where another cycle can start with more snails and slugs becoming infested hosts.
Foxes can also be infested by lungworm and spread the disease to other slugs and snails.
If your pets show signs of any of the following symptoms, please call and arrange to bring in your pet immediately to be examined by a veterinarian.
Breathing problems: coughing, tiring easily
Poor blood clotting: excessive bleeding from evenminor wounds/cuts, nose bleeds, bleeding into the eye, anemia (paleness around the eyes and gums)
General sickness: weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea
Changes in behavior: depression, lethargy, seizures (fits)
- Monthly spot on treatments with Advocate prevents lungworm and we highly recommend this treatment to our clients. Advocate is a prescription drug and is safe to use, as the health of your pet will always be assessed first.
- Training your dog not to eat snails and slugs. A simple “NO” is a very good way forward. The NO needs to be a clear, simple, command. Without anger- that’s the compassionate element!
By Denise Bleckman
Managing Director/ Roehampton Veterinary Clinic