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A beautiful, yellow-eyed cat receiving treatment. Doug Hall feeding a well-loved client.

Slugs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

24th March 2010
HISTORY

Lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum) is a parasite that is affecting the health of our pet dogs.
Initially the risk from becoming infected with this parasite was isolated to Wales and Cornwall but it is now widespread across Surrey and it is heading Northwards.

HOW THE INFECTION HAPPENS

Infected slugs and snails pass the larvae onto dogs when they are ingested either directly or indirectly when dogs have contact with slugs and snails or their slime from outside water bowls or in long grass.

SIGNS OF INFECTION

Due to the multi systemic passage of this parasite the symptoms are extensive and sometimes therefore confusing.

The most important signs for you to watch for are coughing with or without lethargy, however you should contact us with any signs of vague, non-specific illness.

DIAGNOSIS

A faecal sample may give a positive result if the dog is actively shedding the worms. A definitive diagnosis from a faecal sample may take more than one test if the dog is not actively shedding at that time.

WE ARE SEEING CASES OF LUNGWORM IN THIS AREA AND WOULD LIKE TO BRING THIS RISK TO YOUR ATTENTION

PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

Fortunately a simple to use preventative is available which you apply at home. In addition to protecting against Lungworm this treatment also protects your dog from many other parasites. Dogs with Lungworm can be treated but many develop on-going respiratory problems (e.g. Bronchitis) so we strongly recommend using preventatives.

WHAT NEXT

If you are concerned about Lungworm and want more information please ring us – we can arrange for a complimentary nurse appointment to discuss this further.
If you are concerned that your dog may be showing signs or has been put at risk of Lungworm then please ring us and arrange an appointment with one of our vets to discuss this further

WHAT ABOUT CATS

Cats can also become infected with Lungworm (Aelurostrongylus abstratus) either by eating slugs and snails or by eating small mammals acting as a host. Infection is generally well tolerated but cats can show respiratory signs including coughing. Cats that become infected with Lungworm are likely to have mild to moderate signs but these are not potentially life threatening as they are in the dog.



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