How do I protect my dog against lungworm?

Dr Pete Wedderburn / 06 September 2018

Warm, wet weather has seen an increase in slugs and snails in recent years, which puts dogs at risk of catching lungworm.



Question

We get a lot of slugs in our garden and I’m worried about my dog. Is there something to protect against lungworm?

Answer

You are right to be worried: slugs (as well as snails and frogs) are a common source of dogs picking up lungworm. This dangerous parasite has become increasingly common in recent years due to warmer, wetter weather.

Young adult dogs are particularly vulnerable. Lungworms settle into the blood vessels in the chest of affected dogs, and although they can cause a cough, their most worrying effect is that they can stop the blood from clotting. This leads to unexpected major episodes of internal bleeding, including the risk of fatal brain haemorrhage.

The most effective prevention method is a once monthly spot-on liquid such as Advocate that’s absorbed through the skin. It also treats for other internal worms, as well as providing protection against fleas. An alternative is to give a specific type of once monthly worming tablet. Talk to your local vet about the most appropriate choice for your dog.

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