Lungworm: the parasite that can kill a dog

There are two types of lungworm which could affect a pet dog. One is called dirofilaria and the other is angiostrongylus vasorum; both of these parasites could attack dog’s lungs and prove fatal.

In this country it is the latter one that attaches themselves to a dog. Years ago it was considered that the worst areas for infection of dog’s lungs were in South Wales or the West Country. Today the lungworm has spread all over the United Kingdom.

The adult worms live in the area of a dog’s heart and pulmonary arteries. Dogs that spend a large amount of time in a garden and eat any slugs or snails that happen to be carrying the worm are the ones who could be at risk.

The symptoms you need to watch out for are difficulties in breathing and a consistent cough. Other signs are abnormal blood clotting.

Infestation can be fatal. However treatment is available and it is important a dog is taken to their local veterinary surgeon immediately; your dog insurance should cover the cost.

Ask your local vet for a supply of worming products which may prevent the disease. Most over the counter products for lungworm are not effective enough.