Lungworm is a common problem in southern areas of England so people all over the UK should be aware of it.
How do dogs get lungworm?
Dogs get lungworm by eating larvae found in infected snails, slugs or frogs. They can also accidentally eat infected tiny slugs if they are on a toy or their fur. The lungworm larvae then grow inside the dog and adult lungworms move through their body to live in their heart and blood vessels. This can cause heart problems, breathing problems and pneumonia but in mild cases infection can remain unnoticed by owners. After about 28 days the worms start to produce their own larvae which can lead to serious problems. It can cause haemorrhages in the lungs, liver, intestine, eyes and spinal cord but also pretty much anywhere in the body. If left untreated, it can be fatal in severe cases.