Peaky Parasites – Angiostrongylus Vasorum (Lungworm)
WHAT IS LUNGWORM?Lungworm otherwise known as Angiostrongylus Vasorum in dogs, and Aelurpstrongylus Abstrusus in cats. This parasite resides in the heart and pulmonary arteries and can therefore be fatal. There has been an increase in recorded canine Lungworm cases, but it is still less common than other dog parasites such as flea, ticks and worms. Feline lungworm cases are currently rare, but more cases are confirmed each year.
HOW CAN YOUR PET GET LUNGWORM?Dogs become infected by this parasite through the ingestion of infected slugs and snails. You may not necessary see your pet ingest any slugs or snails, as they may do it accidently when eating grass or drinking from outdoor water bowls. Cats who hunt birds and rodents will be at a higher risk of ingesting this parasite.
HOW CAN IT BE DIAGNOSED?Lungworm can be diagnosed by:
- Blood test
- Faecal test
HOW WILL YOUR PET BE AFFECTED BY LUNGWORM?Canine symptoms can vary between cases, the most common signs are: coughing, lethargy, weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, excess bleeding from minor wounds and seizures.
Felines may never show signs that they are affected by Lungworm, however if symptoms do occur they can include coughing, difficulty breathing and poor body condition.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR LUNGWORM?Treatment is available for Lungworm cases in the form of a monthly prescription only treatment, which kills the L4 Lungworm larvae as well as other intestinal worms and fleas. However, in severe cases, this condition may be hard to treat.
PREVENTION IS KEY with Lungworm.Here are some tips to help
- Pick up the poop – Lungworm larvae is passed out in your pets faeces and therefore picking up after our pets prevents spread of the parasites
- Pick up their toys – toys that left outdoors will be exposed to slugs and snails, increasing the risk of parasite spread
- Don’t leave their food and water bowls outside – these will be exposed to slugs and snails increasing risk to your pet.
- Monthly prescription only worming treatment will protect your pet against Lungworm and reduce its spread. Not all spot on treatments treat against Lungworm, so please contact us for advice. Unfortunately at present, there is no licensed preventive treatment for cat lungworm. Lungworm prevention for dog is included in our Pet Health Care plans.