Milngavie and Bearsden pet owners warned to beware deadly dog disease

DOG owners in Bearsden and Milngavie are being warned to be on the look-out for a potentially fatal disease caused by an infection from the lungworm parasite.

The infection occurs when dogs eat common garden slugs and snails carrying the larvae. Once inside the dog’s system, the parasite travels through the body eventually ending up in the heart. If it is left untreated, the dog’s health can rapidly deteriorate, and can even result in death.

To help raise awareness of the disease, vet Laura Sheppard from Bearsden Vets4Pets, has joined a nationwide ‘Be Lungworm Aware’ campaign.

The scheme will offer support and education to owners and vet practices throughout April, which has been labelled ‘Lungworm Awareness Month’.

Last year’s damp summer and mild winter conditions have proved ideal for slug and snail populations, leading experts to warn of a continued spread of lungworm in the UK this year.

Laura Sheppard said: “A lungworm infection can show a number of different symptoms.

“It often causes breathing difficulties, ranging from a lack of energy to coughing.

“Dogs may also show general signs of being unwell including weight loss, reduced appetite and vomiting.

“Persistent bleeding, even from minor cuts is also a sign to watch out for.

“However, the symptoms can be varied and some dogs may appear healthy in the early stages of infection, so if owners are concerned about their dog’s health, they should contact their veterinary practice for further advice.”

Routine use of a specific treatment, available from veterinary surgeons, prevents dogs from developing a lungworm infection. Conventional worming tablets do not prevent the disease.

To help spread the word about the campaign end your tweets on Twitter with the hash tag ‘#belungwormaware’. For more information visit www.lungworm.co.uk

‘Be Lungworm Aware’ is part of Bayer Animal Health’s wider ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’ parasite awareness initiative. Spread the word by liking ‘Jungle for Pets’ on Facebook or by following ‘JungleForPets’ on Twitter.

Has your pet been affected by lungworm? Contact us at mbherald@jnscotland.co.uk