Does your dog eat slugs, snails or frogs? Would you know?  Are they present in your garden or where you walk your dog?

If the answer to any of these questions is Yes, then your dog may be at risk from Lungworm, a life-threatening disease which is spread by slugs, snails and occasionally frogs.  Cases of Lungworm are on the increase and is widespread in the UK.  Adult worms can be found in the heart and arteries and hatched eggs can pass to airways of the lung.  A dog has to eat infected slugs, snails or frogs to become infected himself.  Some dogs may eat them by accident, if a slug or snail falls into a drinking bowl or food dish, or becomes attached to a toy or chew.

There is also research which suggests that the slimy trails left by slugs and snails may pose a risk, but let’s not get paranoid.  Experts recommend that outdoor toys, and bowls are kept clear of the slimy menace, not rocket science but a constant vigil.

Symptoms include:

  • breathing problems. coughing, tiring more easily.
  • Poor blood clotting leading to excessive bleeding, from even a minor wound
  • nosebleeds
  • bleeding into the eye
  • anaemia (pale gums and around eyes)
  • Fits
  • back pain
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea

These symptoms can also indicate many minor illnesses, so consult your vet if you notice any of the above symptoms.  Early diagnosis and treatment will give your dog the best chance of survival.  Treatment is a monthly spot-on which kills the lungworm as well as a wide range of other parasites such as fleas, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, heartworm, mites and lice.

…  Anne