Lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum) is a type of parasitic worm that can infect dogs.
The worms are carried by slugs and snails which are eaten (on purpose or by accident) by a dog. The worm then travels through the gut wall into the bloodstream and lives in the heart and the major blood vessels supplying the lungs.
Lungworm infection can display a wide variety of non-specific symptoms, including weight loss; breathing difficulties; coughing (sometimes bringing up blood); lethargy; clotting disorders/persistent bleeding; general illness; poor appetite; vomiting and diarrhoea; and if left untreated can be fatal. As signs are non-specific diagnosis can be challenging but often will include diagnostic imaging of the chest along with faecal and/or blood samples. Although this area is generally considered to have a low risk for lungworm infection, cases do occur. Treatment of clinical disease is normally possible but prevention is better than cure.
Lungworm infection can be treated with either a spot-on treatment or a tablet, administered every four weeks, please discuss with your vet for more details.
If concerned about your animals, please call Sprinz & Nash. Vets are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Dr Aurelia Verdin