West Sussex is experiencing a fair few slugs and snails around at the moment; from tiny ones to huge ones – but were you aware they carry the lungworm parasite which can cause your dog fatal infection if intentionally - as well as accidentally - swallowed?
Dogs ingest slugs and snails when eating grass, playing with toys outside, drinking from outdoor water bowls and puddles, or rummaging through undergrowth. Once infected adult lungworms live in the dog’s heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs, where they can cause a host of potentially serious problems.
Two main issues caused by dogs becoming infected with lungworm are health problems, and spreading parasite back into the environment, with larvae expelled in faeces increasing chances of infecting other dogs.
Signs of lungworm are easily confused with other illnesses, and include trouble breathing, coughing, tiring easily, poor blood clotting, general sickness, weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Even changes in behaviour, such as depression, tiring easily, and seizures (fits) can indicate lungworm infection.
Some dogs will never show initial outward signs but if you’re concerned contact your vet immediately who can perform tests to help detect the parasite.
Dogs of all ages and breeds are susceptible with playful younger dogs unsurprisingly more prone to picking up the parasite. Dogs known to eat slugs and snails are considered high risk.
Lungworm is not known to infect humans. However, dogs and cats can carry roundworms which can be passed on to people, so please ensure your pet’s parasite protection’s kept up to date.
Cats can become infected with another type of lungworm, however infections seem to be rare and outcome tends not to be as severe as in dogs.
Lungworm prevention and treatment is widely available from your vet and easy to administer. Once diagnosed and treated, most dogs make a full recovery. Like all diseases the key to successful treatment is taking action early.
If you’re concerned your dog has picked up, is displaying any of the signs, or is at risk from lungworm infection, then please call Grove Lodge Vets ASAP on 01903 234866.
by marc abraham | visit www.GroveLodgeVets.co.uk