The lungworm parasite affects dogs only and is understood not to pose any health concerns for cats. Dogs become infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum by eating slugs and snails which may be carrying larvae of the parasite. Dogs may eat these common garden visitors on purpose, or they could be accidentally swallowed when drinking from outdoor water bowls, playing in the garden or rummaging in undergrowth.
Lungworm can prove fatal, so prevention is definitely better than cure with only vet strength wormers able to prevent infection.
Most pets with lungworm will make a full recovery if treated quickly, but if left more complicated secondary infections can occur, such as pneumonia.
Lungworm affects the respiratory tract so you may notice a cough and/or breathing difficulties.
Other symptoms to look out for:
- weight loss
- poor appetite
- bleeding – from the nose, eye or more than usual from a minor cut or wound
- anaemia (paleness around the eyes and gums)
- tiring easily
Ash Tree Vets commonly uses Milbemax to prevent your dog or cat from being infected with worms. Milbemax tablets are a broad-spectrum wormer that offers protection from tapeworm, roundworm, lungworm and heartworm.