Lungworm infection is becoming much more common, and is now a risk to dogs across much of the UK. Dogs are at risk of catching lungworm if they eat infected slugs and snails, which can also happen accidentally when they eat grass.
Lungworm infections can be serious because lungworm travels around the whole body. In worst cases, it causes problems such as breathing difficulties, bleeding problems, seizures and even death.
Symptoms of lungworm:
The symptoms of lungworm can be difficult to spot because they are often very vague and varied. They tend to vary depending on how many worms your dog has inside them and which organs they reach. Common symptoms include:
- Breathing problems (fast, heavy or noisy)
- Weight loss
- Unexplained bruising and bleeding
- Collapse and shock
Is your pet covered with lungworm prevention product?
If you think your pet is at risk, make sure your current flea/tick/worm prevention protocol covers for lungworm. This is always a conversation to have with your vet here at Swayne’s so we can advise you which product or regime is best for your pet. There is currently no effective lungworm medication available without a prescription from the vet.
What happens if my pet requires hospital treatment here at the vets.
Mild lungworm infections often only require lungworm treatment and medication to go home with, but if your dog is seriously ill, they may need intensive care in the veterinary hospital.
- Oxygen. Your dog may need oxygen if their lungs have been damaged by lungworm.
- A fluid drip. Your dog may need a fluid drip (fluids given straight into the blood stream) to stop them becoming dehydrated while they recover.
- A blood transfusion. If your dog has lost a lot of blood, they may need an emergency blood transfusion.
- Other medications. Other medications such as anti-seizure medication may be necessary depending on your dog’s symptoms.
It goes without saying the earlier we can diagnose lungworm the better the outcome and treating a lungworm infection can be costly, especially if your dog needs intensive care. Prevention is better than cure. It is always worth considering adequate insurance for your pet.