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10 reasons we should all know about the potentially fatal Lungworm. Cases of infection used to be confined to small areas in the UK but it is spreading fast !
1. The lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum (also known as French Heartworm) is a parasite that infects dogs. If left untreated the infection can often be fatal.
2. It used to be confined to small regions in the UK but it is spreading fast !
3. The adult of this lungworm lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs, where it can cause lots of different problems.
4. The lungworm parasite is carried by slugs and snails. Dogs become infected when they eat these pests when eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys.
5. Symptoms to look out for are : -
- reluctance to exercise
- weight loss
- paralysis/inability to walk excessive
- bleeding from even minor wounds
6. Dogs under the age of two appear to be more susceptible than older dogs, though dogs of all ages and breeds can be affected. The wide range of signs can easily be confused with other illnesses so contacting your vets important.
7. Be Vigilant. things to look out for are : -
- Watch to see if your dog likes eating slugs and or snails
- Know your dog – signs of the disease are varied and can easily be confused with other ailments, so keep an eye out for anything unexpected.
8. Where possible, take precautions : -
- Avoid the use of outdoor drinking water and food bowls which often attract slugs or snails – there is evidence that slime trails can infect a dog if they are eaten
- Don't leave your dog's toys, chews or bones in the garden as they can attract snails
9. Ask your vet for a parasite control programme that takes into account the risk of dogs becoming infected. Most standard wormers DO NOT protect from lungworm. Even Milbemax taken monthly only reduces the chances of infection. Something like Advocate does protect against lungworm.