Lungworm is a parasite that can infect dogs and foxes.
Dogs can get infected by eating snails or slugs, which carry the lungworm larvae.
There is no direct dog-to-dog transmission, but as snails and slugs are everywhere in the spring months there is an increased risk of infection.
Dogs enjoy exploring on their walks, and because of this inquisitive nature they will often ingest snails and slugs – either accidentally or on purpose.
Lungworm is now widespread in the UK so it is important to be aware of the risks it poses.
The signs of lungworm infection in dogs are very non-specific and can include:
- breathing or heart problems
- poor clotting
- weight loss
- general illness
- changes in behaviour
If left untreated it is often fatal. Severe infections can be more challenging to treat, therefore it is important to start treatment as soon as lungworm is diagnosed.
Prevention, however, is easy to achieve, and there are many different products available.
If you’re not sure whether the worming product you’re currently using for your dog also covers lungworm you should ask your veterinarian.