Albany Blog

Lungworm

By September 9, 2022No Comments

Lungworm, named so as they predominantly cause lung-related symptoms such as coughing, actually live within the chambers of the heart and in the blood vessel that connects the heart to the lungs.

The lifecycle

Angiostrongylus vasorum (canine lungworm) produce eggs which hatch into larvae. These are coughed up from the lungs, swallowed and passed out in faeces, then gathered by slugs and snails and passed on to dogs and foxes. Dogs get lungworm by eating the lungworm larvae, found in slug and snail slime; they do not need to eat the slug or snail to be at risk, access to a slug or snail’s environment poses a danger. Their slime on dog toys or water bowls left out in the garden, or on a stick in the park are all potential dangers. Lungworm cannot be transmitted to humans.

Signs of lungworm

Diagnosis can be tricky as symptoms vary. Signs to look out for include:

Tiredness

Changes in breathing

Coughing

Vomiting and/or diarrhoea

Loss of appetite

Weight loss

Bruising

Pale gums

Bleeding (as blood clotting can be affected)

 

How you can help to protect your dog

Prevention is the only way to protect your dog from exposure to infection.

Use regular preventative worming treatments, specifically for lungworm. There are many parasite control products available, not all of them offer the same protection. Talk to your vet about a product that’s right for you, your dog and your lifestyle and regularly review the protection you are using.

Keep your dog’s water bowl clean and change the water frequently.

Remove dog toys and bowls from the garden overnight.

Pick up your dog’s faeces promptly.

 

Lungworm is a concern in all areas of the UK.  Mango came to see us when her owners had noticed that her breathing rate had increased.

Her lab results confirmed lungworm disease.

Following the prompt actions of her owners and the appropriate treatment, Mango has made a full recovery.

Lungworm can be fatal.

Seek veterinary advice if you are worried your dog might be showing signs.