Lungworn Alert

(Sept 2016)
Please be aware of the dangers of lungworm - below are pictures of Pip a 6 year old JRT with acute right sided heart failure due to a massive lungworm burden. The adult worms live in the heart and the blood vessels that supply the lungs. When the worm burden is great enough this leads to heart failure....
We are hoping that Pip has been caught in the "nick of time" and that she will make a recovery - but she is by no means out of the woods... yet!!
Pip may look bright but you can see from the photos that she has no meat on her back and a very swollen belly - it is full of fluid due to her heart failure.
Only the adult worms live in the dog - their larvae complete their life cycles in slugs and snails. This is the reason why lungworm is not passed from dog to dog. The worm larvae shed in the dog's (or fox's) faeces need a slug or snail host in order to grow and develop. It is from eating these infected slugs and/or snails that infection can occur in another dog (or fox).
It is interesting to note that research by the University of Bristol testing the faeces of almost 900 dogs for lungworm to look for factors which may increase a dog’s risk of infection concluded:
·     Dogs <18 months were found to be 8 times more likely to have lungworm than dogs >8 years old
·     Dogs between 18 months and 8 years were 4 times more likely to have lungworm than dogs >8 years old
·     Dogs tested +ve for lungworm year round but there was an increase in numbers diagnosed during the winter and spring

Lungworm is still relatively uncommon but it is here and the effects can be devastating. We are certainly now advising people in our area to consider including lungworm prevention to their worming regime. We really consider it essential now for the young dogs but appreciate risk assessment of older dogs is still appropriate. Prevention is always better (and cheaper) than cure and monthly worming with certain products will prevent lungworm infection. Please speak to us for advice.
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