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How to prevent lungworm from affecting your dog

A parasite, Angiostrongylus Vasorum, more commonly...

Dogs / 23.09.2015

How to prevent lungworm from affecting your dog

A parasite, Angiostrongylus Vasorum, more commonly known as the lungworm, which can be contracted by dogs after they accidentally swallow infected slugs or snails, is endemic to central Scotland after a study by The University of Glasgow found that it was present in 6.7 per cent of the creatures tested in three parks in the Glasgow area.

The figure rose to 11 per cent in Pollok Country Park, where the first case of lungworm infection in a dog in Scotland was reported in 2009. Researchers also found positive specimens in multiple parks surrounding the city where the parasite was expected to be absent, including Mugdock Country Park, well known as prime dog walking spot in Scotland.

Left untreated, lungworm can cause a dog's health to deteriorate rapidly and can result in death. Once inside the system, the parasite travels through the dog's body, eventually maturing in the heart and pulmonary arteries, where it produces eggs. Larvae emerge and migrate into the lungs to be coughed up and swallowed and subsequently enter the faeces. The parasite is then picked up by molluscs when they come into contact with the infected faeces.

Although accidentally swallowing infected slugs and snails is likely to be the main route of exposure, research has found that infectious larvae can also be released through the mollusc's slime onto vegetation and then survive for up to 15 days. This isn’t good news for local dog owners who walk their dogs in these areas and we highly recommend a course of Panacur over seven days.  Panacur, one of our most recommended wormers for dogs, is available in a granule or liquid form and is safe for use in pregnant and lactating bitches.  There are also other things you can do to help prevent lungworm infection, including regularly cleaning water bowls, not leaving toys in the garden overnight and of course one of the most important of all – picking up your dogs poo.

If you have any questions relating to lungworm, or need further clarification after reading any articles or seeing any news reports, our qualified and friendly team are on hand and available to speak to. You can call us on 0800 731 7464, email us at info@petsensedirect.co.uk or stop by one of our Petsense Direct pickup points.