Lungworm is a parasite that is carried by slugs and snails and can infect dogs. The larvae migrate through the body and end up, as the name suggests, in the lungs and also in the right side of the heart. Dogs can become infected by direct contact/ingestion of the slugs or snails, but also by ingestion or contact with things that the slugs/snails have moved across (e.g. grass, puddles, toys left in the garden). Any dogs can become infected, but infection is more common in young dogs.
Signs of infection can be vague and nonspecific, and dogs can present with a cough, signs of bleeding (infection can affect the blood’s ability to clot), or just vague signs of being unwell, reduced appetite, weight loss, lethargy etc.
Fortunately lungworm infection is both treatable and preventable and there are several preparations that can be used. However, not all worming treatments will protect your dog, so please speak to us about what would be the most suitable option for your dog.
Lungworm is not known to affect humans.
Cats have their own species of lungworm, but infection is very rare.