Northampton vet warns dog owners to be vigilant as cases of deadly lungworm soar

The deadly parasite becomes more common in wet and warm weather where there is naturally more slug and snail activity

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 12:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 12:42 pm

A Northampton veterinary practice is advising local dog owners to ensure their canine companions are protected against the deadly lungworm as cases soar across the UK.

Lungworm - officially known as Angiostrongyluls vasorum - is a parasite that lives among slugs and snails and can be fatal if left untreated. The parasite, despite its name, travels around the entire body, generally living in the heart or major blood vessels and can cause an array of issues including breathing problems, seizures, heart failure, weight loss and nose bleeds.

Vet, Carla Carvalho, from White Cross Vets in Northampton explained: “Lungworm is a really nasty parasite that causes all types of serious problems. 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.

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Pet pooch, Lenny, under the duvet.
Pet pooch, Lenny, under the duvet.

“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."

White Cross Vets has seen numerous lungworm cases across its 21 veterinary practices across the UK this year.

Carla continued: “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 that 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.”

Lungworm can be easily prevented with a monthly tablet or spot on prescribed by a vet that will also protect the dog against other common parasites.

White Cross Vets is part of IVC Evidensia and has been caring for pets for 80 years, having started in West Yorkshire in 1937. They now employ 300 people across 21 practices in the UK.

For more information about White Cross Vets, visit www.whitecrossvets.co.uk.