Beware of lungworm

Beware of lungworm

Lungworm (or Angiostrongylus Vasorum) is a parasite affecting dogs and foxes. It can cause significant disease and in some cases, be fatal.
It’s therefore important to be aware of lungworm and how you can help protect your pet from this parasite.
Dogs can be infected with lungworm larvae carried by slugs and snails (which act as intermediate hosts). Unfortunately, slugs and snails can be inadvertently eaten in grass, soil or whilst playing with toys in the garden.
Lungworm larvae can even be found in the trail that snails leave behind in your garden.
The disease is commonest in young dogs that eat or play with slugs and snails and in dogs that eat or drink outside where slugs or snails may have been in their bowls.
Lungworm are swallowed as tiny larvae, which migrate into the circulation and travel to the right side of the heart. Here they develop into adult worms which can build up in the heart; the adults then mate and produce eggs.
The eggs hatch into larvae and migrate into the lung tissue.
These larvae are coughed up and are passed out into your dog’s faeces to re-infect snails and the like.
When in the body the larvae cause significant lung tissue damage, often causing a cough, breathing troubles and lethargy. This can result in bronchitis, heart failure and spontaneous bleeding. Affected dogs often become weak and lethargic, go off their food, and may cough, vomit, or pass blood. The disease can be so severe as to be fatal but if diagnosed early, can be treated successfully.
The good news is that prevention is straightforward with spot-on or tablet medications, both of which are highly effective and available from your vet.
Next time you visit your vet, ask about Lungworm.

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