When there has been a lot of rain you will find there are lots of slugs and snails around. As well as being a pest to those green-fingered amongst you they are an important intermediate host involved in the spread of lungworm to dogs.
Lungworm (also known as French Heartworm) is a parasite that infects dogs and the adult lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs where it can cause severe problems and if the disease is left untreated it can be fatal.
Younger dogs and slug/snail eaters are more prone to infection but any dog can become infected.
Becoming inected with Lungworm
They can accidentally eat infected snails by:
– Rummaging through undergrowth
– Eating grass
– Drinking from puddles
– Drinking from outdoor water bowls
– Playing with toys that have a slug/snail attached
Dogs cannot spread the disease to each other directly but do excrete parasite larvae in their faeces which can then start the life cycle again.
Symptoms of Lungworm
Symptoms of lungworm infection are easily confused with other illnesses and include:
– Breathing problems, coughing and tiring easily
– Excessive bleeding, nose bleeds or anaemia (pale gums)
– Weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea
– Depression and possibly seizures
This nasty disease is easily prevented and treated if caught early but only with prescription medication available from your veterinary surgeon. If you are at all concerned or would like any advice about a parasite control programme please contact the surgery as prevention is better than cure! You can also take advantage of our fit friends health plan that includes preventative treatment for this horrible disease. Cutting down the slug/snails in your garden will help but please beware some slug baits as these can also be harmful to pets.