Soaring slug populations pose threat to dogs
Veterinary surgeons across the country are warning dog owners to be aware of a threat to their dogs’ health posed by a disease caught from eating slugs and snails.
Slugs and snails can carry a lungworm parasite that is life-threatening to dogs. The danger arises when small slugs or snails are either purposefully or accidentally eaten by dogs while rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, or drinking water from puddles or an outdoor water bowl.
The worm is spreading across the UK and vets are reporting more cases of dogs with the disease in areas where it was previously not found. As yet it is unclear why there has been an increase, but it has been suggested that global warming may be aiding the spread of the parasite. Signs to look out for include persistent coughing, reluctance to exercise, depression, weight loss, fits, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, paralysis, behavioural changes, bruising and persistent bleeding from even minor cuts. The wide range of signs can easily be confused with other illnesses so contacting your veterinary practice is important to allow the cause to be identified.
If you suspect your dog may have eaten a slug or a snail or is showing signs of lungworm infection, go and see your vet without delay. Treatment is available in a monthly spot-on which your vet will be able to prescribe.