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Lungworm in dogs: Your questions answered

Cases of lungworm in dogs are on the rise in the UK, with thousands of cases being reported. As a result, it’s important that pet owners are aware of the symptoms and how it can be prevented.

What is lungworm?

Lungworm is a parasite which is carried by slugs, snails and frogs. It lives in the heart and blood vessels of infected animals, where it lays eggs that get carried to the lungs. If left untreated, it can be deadly to dogs.

How can dogs get lungworm?

Lungworm in dogs is caused by eating infective lungworm larvae that are found in the slimy coating of slugs and snails. Whilst it’s more common to contract by eating slugs or snails, the slime trail they leave behind can also present a threat for transmission. Because of this, eating grass, playing with toys that have been left outside and drinking from puddles and outdoor water bowls can pose a risk too.

What are the signs?

Diagnosing lungworm can be difficult; the symptoms vary and are usually vague as many dogs won’t show signs for some time. However, the most common things to look out for include:

  • Coughing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Tiredness/lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Poor blood clotting
  • Vomiting with blood present
  • Nose bleeds

If you’re worried that your dog may have lungworm, you should get in touch with your vet who will be able to run tests. We offer blood testing and chest x-rays if required for our patients here at St Kitts.

Can lungworm be treated?

Many cases of lungworm in dogs are relatively simple to treat with a regular monthly deworming product.

How can I prevent lungworm?

There are a handful of ways to prevent your dog from picking up a lungworm infection, including:

  • Regular worming treatments (included in our Pet Care Plans)
  • Picking up your dog’s faeces quickly (helps prevent the spread of lungworm)
  • Removing toys and bowls from your garden overnight
  • Changing the water in water bowls frequently

Can humans get lungworm?

No, lungworm is not known to infect humans. There are, however, other types of worms that can be transmitted from pets to humans, including roundworm and tapeworm, so it’s important that regular worming is carried out on your dog.

If you have any concerns about your pet or would like more information about our worming treatments, please get in touch with your local branch.

St Kitts Veterinary Centre: 01252 844044
Basingstoke Veterinary Centre: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799

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