LUNGWORM IN DOGS
There has been a lot of press recently about the rise of Angiostrongylus vasorum (also known as the French heartworm or lungworm).
This parasite is spread by slugs and snails which carry a larval form of the parasite. When they are eaten accidentally or deliberately by your dog, they continue the lifecycle to become adult worms in the heart and lung causing clinical signs. They will also produce eggs which are coughed up by the dog, swallowed and excreted in faeces from where they infect further slugs/snails and the lifecycle continues. In some circumstances Dogs may only need to be licking in and around an area where snails and slugs have recently beed to pick up a lungworm infection.
Clinical signs are variable and include: respiratory signs such as coughing/difficulty breathing, bleeding problems, weakness and pain. The severity of which often relates to how many worms are present.Confirmation of infection can be complex and can involve chest xray, examination of faecal samples by the lab to detect ova or larvae and possibly examination of respiratory secretions for ova or larvae.
Treatment involves killing the worms in the lungs which is best done slowly. There are 3 effective treatments available: Milprazon tablets, Panacur powder and Advocate spot on. If you are concerned your dog may have lungworm please talk to one of our vets.
We recommend Milprazon tablets as a first line of defence against Lungworm and we have now upgraded our worming recommendations to MONTHLY WORMING with Milprazon tablets to ensure effective protection against Lungworm.
There is no extra charge for this for any dogs currently on our Best Friends Club.
You can help prevent lungworm by keeping your garden free of dog faeces to prevent infection of snails/slugs with worm eggs in faeces.