Lungworm and Dogs
The lungworm parasite is carried by slugs and snails. The problem arises when dogs purposefully or accidentally eat these common garden pests when rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys. There is also the potential for dogs to become infected through coming into contact with the trail of mucus that slugs and snails leave behind.
Foxes can also become infected with the lungworm, and have been implicated in the spread of the parasite across the country.
There are two main problems caused by dogs becoming infected with lungworm:
Infection with lungworm can cause serious health problems in dogs, and is often fatal if not diagnosed and treated.
Dogs infected with lungworm spread the parasite into the environment, as the larvae of the parasite are expelled in the dogís faeces. This increases the chances of other dogs becoming infected.
Dogs of all ages and breeds can become infected with lungworm. However, younger dogs seem to be more prone to picking up the parasite. Dogs known to eat slugs and snails should also be considered high risk.
Lungworm infections can result in a number of different signs which may easily be confused with other illnesses. If your dog is displaying any of the signs below, consult your veterinary surgeon immediately
Breathing problems - Coughing, tiring easily
Poor blood clotting - Excessive bleeding from even minor cuts, nosebleeds, bleeding into the eye, anaemia (paleness around the eyes and gums)
General sickness - Weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea
Changes in behaviour - Depression, tiring easily, Seizures (fits)
There are some dogs which donít initially show outward signs of lungworm infection. Your veterinary surgeon can perform tests which may help detect if your dog is infected with the lungworm parasite, if you are concerned.