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We all try our best to look after our dogs, but cases of the potentially deadly infection lungworm have doubled in the past year – and it’s no surprise, given the fact the parasite lurks in the common garden snail and slug.
Vet Cheryl Corral from 3 Mile Veterinary Centre explained a bit more about lungworm. “It’s parasite that dogs can get from eating slugs or snails in the garden and it's really on the increase, so there’s been a big campaign to try and increase awareness so that everyone knows it’s a bad idea to let their dogs near slugs or snails.”
Cheryl added: “It works its way right into their lungs and their heart, so it can provide some quite nasty symptoms.”
Main symptoms that a dog has lungworm include coughing or respiratory symptoms as well as some more non-specific signs such as general lethargy. Excessive bleeding from wounds can also be a sign of lungworm, as dogs with the condition often suffer from clotting problems.
The most important thing to do if you suspect your pooch is suffering from lungworm is act quickly. “If you catch it early enough it’s treatable and if you take the dog along to the vet they’ll perform a number of tests and make sure that is the right diagnosis and be able to treat it. But if you don’t catch it early enough it’s not always responsive to treatment in the later stages,” Cheryl explained.
However like most things, prevention is better than cure, so keep vigilant about where your dog is playing and what they are getting up to. “The big message with lungworm is just to be aware of the preventative side, don’t let your dogs near slugs or snails if they’re likely to be ones that eat it, make sure you clear out the garden, don’t leave your dog’s food bowls or toys lying around the garden where slugs could have access and they could then go and chomp on them.
“So bringing things like that in and making sure they have limited access to them, and worming them every month is the bit preventative side to it," the vet explained.
Find out more Cheryl land her veterinary services from www.3milevet.co.uk. Also check out www.lungworm.co.uk to find out more about lungworm.