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Slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails!

LungwormLUNGWORM INFECTION in dogs, caused by the parasite Angiostrongylus vasorum, is spreading.

A recent nationwide survey of UK vets has revealed that over 25 per cent of those questioned had either confirmed or suspected a case of this potentially fatal condition, yet as few as six per cent of dog owners had even heard of the disease.

Dogs become infected with the lungworm through eating slugs and snails which carry the larvae of the parasite. Infections were most common in parts of Ireland, Wales and southern England. However, recent outbreaks as far north as Scotland mean the parasite is now a nationwide threat.

With this in mind, Bayer Animal Health has launched a ‘Be Lungworm Aware’ campaign to help raise the profile of this parasite amongst dog owners. The initiative aims to make a wide range of advice available, including signs of infection and how to obtain treatment, and to promote the benefits of a parasite control programme that takes into account the risk of dogs becoming infected.

Lungworm is a particularly dangerous condition as if left untreated, it is often fatal. Signs to look out for include coughing, reluctance to exercise, depression, weight loss, fits, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, paralysis and persistent bleeding from even small cuts. Dogs known to eat slugs and snails should also be considered candidates for a check-up with a vet, even if they are showing no outward signs of infection.

‘The condition has become a nationwide threat to the canine population, however awareness of this particular lungworm is low,’ commented Bayer Animal Health.

‘The ‘Be Lungworm Aware’ campaign aims to educate owners on the risks associated with infection and encourage them to visit their vet for further information and to discuss their dogs’ parasite protection plan.’

For further information please log on to, which features an interesting video of the lifecycle of the parasite, or contact your local veterinary practice.

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