What is Lungworm?
Lungworm is a type of parasitic worm which affects dogs and foxes. Once a dog is infected with lungworm, it lives in the dog’s heart and the major blood vessel supplying the lungs, hence its name.
How does a dog catch Lungworm?
A dog can catch Lungworm through a variety of ways;
- Eating slugs or snails
- Eating grass that has a slime trail from a slug or snail
- Drinking from puddles
- Eating an infected bird or rodent
Historically, dogs were most likely to become infected with Lungworm in the wet spring months as this is the most common time for slugs and snails to be around, but it is becoming prevalent all year round now.
What are the symptoms of Lungworm?
Some of the most common symptoms of Lungworm could often be mistaken for other infections and illnesses too;
- Breathing problems
- Bleeding for longer than normal after a minor injury eg. a cut to their paw
- Weight Loss
- Poor Appetite
Should I regularly worm my dog?
A decade or so ago, vets recommended using a wormer every month to keep your dog worm free. More recently though, the negative effects of giving a dog a chemical wormer every month has become more apparent.
An inexpensive and effective way of finding out for certain if your dog requires treating is by using a worm count kit.
What is a wormcount kit or Faecal egg Count (FEC)?
Faecal Egg Count (FEC) is a method of determining how many internal parasite eggs are present in a particular poo sample. It may also be possible to determine the different types of worms or other parasites present. The information on both the number and type of parasites can be used to determine whether or not a worming treatment is required. If an animal has internal parasites the eggs produced by the adult parasites are often passed out in the poo. If eggs are found in a fresh poo sample it shows that worms are present in the animal. The number of eggs found can provide a useful indication of the level of parasite infection, so a high egg count would suggest a high level of adult parasites in the animal. FEC is an extremely valuable tool to monitor parasite levels for individuals and groups of animals. We have a range of Lungworm and Combo kits available online and in-store to help keep your dog safe.
Regular worm counts are an excellent way of checking that your dog is worm free. If your dog does have worms present then a wormer could be prescribed from your vet or you can treat naturally with Grapefruit Seed Extract. If the dog does not have worms present then there is no need to treat them unnecessarily. Much safer for the dog and more purse friendly for you too!
With Woofs and Wags,
Laura, Dolly & Reggie