Did you know that slugs and snails can be a real threat to your dog as they can carry potentially life threatening lungworm larvae.
Lungworm has spread considerably in recent years and is now endemic in much of the UK. There have been 20 reported cases in Kent and we have seen 2 cases of Lungworm this spring at Bourne Veterinary Practice.
Lungworm also know as Angiostrongylus vasorum are slender worms about 2.5 cm long which live in the heart and lungs of dogs and can cause a lot of damage. Symptoms of lungworm infection are varied but often include coughing, lethargy, weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Dogs can become infected with this life-threatening parasite by swallowing infected slugs and snails. Slugs and snails can be very small and even if dogs don’t eat slugs and snails on purpose they may do so accidentally when eating grass, drinking from puddles, rummaging in undergrowth or playing with toys outdoors.
If spotted and treated early enough most dogs will make a full recovery, but as this parasite can be fatal, the best way to ensure your pet is protected is by regularly using a product that acts as a preventative. However, not all wormers are effective against lungworm so be sure to ask your vet for advice. Remember, for lungworm prevention, treatment must be monthly; using a product every 3 months will not prevent this potentially fatal parasite, as this leaves your dog unprotected for too long between doses.
The average UK garden is thought to contain more than 20,000 snails and slugs, any one of which could be carrying lungworm larvae. As lungworm cases are on the increase in our area please ask your vet about a lungworm prevention plan.