Dog Lungworm

Posted by Laura Greenland on

I’ve heard on the grapevine that there’s been a rise in dogs catching lungworm recently. These aren't like your normal worms; they are parasitic worms and can prove to be pretty nasty!

Did you know that foxes are actually to blame for this? They are the ones giving these troublesome little pests a free ride around town, and literally dropping them off in places where we will pick them up. 

It’s a little gross but let me explain a little more about the process, and it’s true what the humans say - foxes really are sly! 

We don’t actually catch lungworms directly from foxes. Basically, when they are out and about, and do their business (there’s nobody to pick up after them) it is left for the slugs and snails to enjoy. Unfortunately, their poop is where the lungworm eggs are, which then take up residence inside the slugs and/or snails where they stay until they hatch into larvae - see, I told you it was gross! 

Sadly, because us doggos like to eat everything, that’s where they get us!

When we are being a little over-friendly with our local slimy garden friends, licking the ground, grass or even water that they’ve recently frequented, we are unknowingly consuming the larvae that they’ve released, and we unfortunately become part of the lungworm life cycle… 

They make their way to our gut, start breaking through the intestinal wall, get into the bloodstream, and then make their way into the heart where they grow. Adult lungworm then lay eggs that move up through our lungs, we cough and re-swallow the eggs, beginning the process all over again. 

Testing for lungworm is pretty straightforward and can be done at home. It requires a poop sample that you send off to be tested in a lab. We can highly recommend Worm Counts for Dogs, and we stock their worm count kit at EPP. 

Untreated lungworm can become fatal, so it’s seriously important to look out for signs.

Symptoms to look out for are: 

  • Continuous coughing
  • Breathing difficulty 
  • Tiredness 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight loss
  • Appears to be in pain
  • Blood in urine, faeces 
  • Bleeding gums 

If your dog has any of these symptoms, it is advisable to contact your vet immediately. 

A few things to help prevent the spread of lungworm.

  1. Pick up dog poo straight away
  2. Change water bowls frequently
  3. Temove dog bowls and toys from outdoor areas overnight to stop slugs or snails from touching them
  4. Provide your pet with regular worming treatment

Actually, whilst we’re on the topic of worms… yes, there is more than just the one type! 

It’s a good idea to get in a routine where you check your cats and dogs regularly for worms, and keep them up to date with treatment to ensure they are protected. 

Most worming kits will test for: 

  • Heartworm
  • Tapeworm
  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Coccidia
  • Whipworm
  • Giardia Cyst

It is recommended that you treat your dogs and cats every three months, and that should be enough to prevent any problems from occurring due to worms. 

It’s advised to do worm count tests if:

  • You raw feed
  • Your dog is prone to fleas (immature fleas carry tapeworm)
  • You don’t want to worm unnecessarily
  • To make sure the wormer you are using is working
  • You want to worm less often but remain protected
  • Your dog is a scavenger or grass eater
  • You can’t worm your dog for health reasons

Ugh, I feel all fidgety now thinking about all those wiggly worms! I know I’m up to date on all my preventatives, are you? 

If you’re concerned about your dog, you can order a dog worm count kit over on the website.

← Older Post Newer Post →