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Informative image: LungwormWhat is this lungworm?

The lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum (also known as French Heartworm) is a parasite that infects dogs. The adult of this particular lungworm lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs, where it can cause a host of problems. untreated, the infection can often be fatal.

How can my pet contract lungworm?

The lungworm parasite is carried by slugs and snails. The problem arises when dogs purposefully or accidentally eat these common garden pests when rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys.

A. vasorum reports are spreading with cases now being found beyond the traditional areas in Southern England and Wales; it has also now been confirmed in the Midlands, Northern England, Scotland and Ireland.

Prevention and treatment

It is important to recognise that lungworm is not prevented or treated by the conventional use of worming tablets when given every three months, or even every month.

Thankfully, treatment of lungworm infection in dogs is widely available and easy to administer. Once diagnosed and treated, most dogs make a full recovery. The key to successful treatment is taking action early. Applied monthly this product can also prevent the establishment of infection with Angiostrongylus vasorum.

If you are concerned your dog has picked up, or is at risk from, picking up a lungworm infection, speak to your local Goddard Veterinary Group practice without delay.

Information supplied by Bayer Animal Health, manufacturer of Advocate.