August 24, 2012

Lung Worm arrives in Huddersfield


The lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum (also known as French Heartworm) is a parasite that infects dogs. The adult of this particular lungworm lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs, where it can cause a host of problems. Left untreated, the infection can often be fatal.

The lungworm parasite is carried by slugs and snails. The problem arises when dogs purposefully or accidentally eat these common garden pests when rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys.

Infection with lungworm can cause serious health problems in dogs, and is often fatal if not diagnosed and treated.

Dogs infected with lungworm spread the parasite into the environment, as the larvae of the parasite are expelled in the dog’s faeces. This increases the chances of other dogs becoming infected.

Lungworm has been slowly spreading across the country over the last few years and we have been tracking its progress carefully.

Sadly, Donaldson’s first confirmed case was seen last week and we are currently waiting for test results on two further suspected cases.

Dogs of all ages and breeds can become infected with lungworm. However, younger dogs seem to be more prone to picking up the parasite. Dogs known to eat slugs and snails should also be considered high risk.

Lungworm infections can result in a number of different signs which may easily be confused with other illnesses including breathing problems, poor blood clotting, behaviour changes or general sickness. If your dog is displaying any of these signs, consult your veterinary surgeon immediately.

There are some dogs which don’t initially show outward signs of lungworm infection. If you are concerned your veterinary surgeon can perform tests which may help detect if your dog is infected with the lungworm parasite.

It is important to recognise that lungworm is not prevented or treated by the conventional use of worming tablets when given every three months, or even every month.

Thankfully, treatment of lungworm infection in dogs is widely available and easy to administer. Once diagnosed and treated, most dogs make a full recovery. The key to successful treatment is taking action early.

If you are concerned your dog has picked up, or is at risk from, picking up a lungworm infection, speak to your veterinary surgeon without delay.

Your vet can prescribe a specific spot-on solution to treat this parasite, which is applied to the back of the neck.

Applied monthly this product can also prevent the establishment of infection with Lung Worm. Speak to your veterinary surgeon for further advice.


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