Posted 2 months ago ago
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Dog owners have been cautioned to be more vigilant over rising cases of a potentially fatal infection.
A veterinary practice in Middlesbrough has advised local pet owners to ensure their four legged friends are protected against lungworm as cases of the deadly parasite increase across the UK.
While July, August and early September are usually the peak months for lungworm infections and cases of clinical disease, this has been worsened by the recent weather.
The recent wet weather has potentially worsened the problem of Angiostrongylus vasorum, more commonly known as lungworm infection.
It lives among slugs and snails and can prove to be extremely dangerous for dogs if left untreated.
Rob Reid from White Cross Vets in Coulby Newham explained to TeessideLive : "Dogs become infected with lungworm if they eat slugs and snails, or from licking at their slime trails, which can also find their way into puddles, grass and undergrowth, as well as in water bowls and on toys left outside.
“The problem increases in wet and warm weather when there is naturally more slug and snail activity, which is what we’ve experienced this year.
"We also know the UK’s dog population has soared during lockdown and that is also likely to be contributing to an increase in lungworm cases, especially because it commonly affects puppies due to their curious nature."
He added: “Crucially, lungworm is a lot easier to prevent than it is to cure and treatment of infected pets can result in serious complications.
"As a result, it’s particularly important dog owners protect their pets against lungworm with a routine monthly treatment.
“There aren’t any over the counter products available from pet shops that will prevent lungworm, so dog owners should consult their local veterinary practice and also check that any treatments they are currently giving their dog protects against lungworm.”
Contrast to its name, the parasite actually travels through the whole body but generally lives in the heart or major blood vessels.
Symptoms can vary but usually range from a slight increase in breathing, moderate coughing or sneezing when stressed to severe coughing, wheezing or exercise intolerance.
Weight loss and persistent bleeding, especially coughing up blood, are also warning signs.
Puppies that have the parasite tend to be more affected than adult dogs.
The infection, often referred to as Husk, is easily treatable with a prescribed monthly tablet or spot on, which will also protect your canine from other parasites.