Lungworm cases in the increase


01 May 2012

A killer parasite is rapidly spreading across the UK, but the majority of dog owners don't know the warning signs. The warning comes from the Royal Veterinary College which discovered that the lungworm angiostrongylus vasorum is spreading beyond its traditional geographic distribution, with 36 per cent of veterinary practices across the UK reporting at least one case in the past year.

A recent survey of 1,000 dog owners found that one third of people didn't know how their dog could become infected with lungworm, which can be caught from slugs and snails. Half of people said they didn't believe their dog was at risk.

However, 85 per cent said they would do everything they could to prevent their dog catching a potentially fatal disease.

Vet Luke Gamble said: "Once a problem seen only in isolated areas, lungworm is spreading at an alarming rate in the UK. While dog owners are becoming more aware of lungworm, there is still a real lack of understanding as to the warning signs associated with the condition."

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Reasons attributed to the rapid spread of lungworm in Britain include the movement of dogs around the country, foxes becoming infected and acting as a source of infection for dogs, global warming encouraging slugs and snails to remain active for longer, and more people reporting cases.

To find out more about lungworm and how you can keep you four-legged friend safe, watch Bayer's video feature where vet Luke Gamble and Peter Purves give advice on preventing, spotting and treating the disease.