Lungworm warning from vet

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A Hucknall vet has warned dog owners to beware of a disease that could kill their pets.

Miriam Lynch, of the Buckley House surgery on West Street, said lungworm was a dangerous condition, yet little was often known about it.

“Sadly, a young Labrador was brought to the surgery two weeks ago but it had already died from the disease,” said Miriam.

“We treated a springer spaniel that had bleeding to the spinal cord as a result of lungworm, but fortunately the dog survived.”

Lungworm is a form of parasitic worm and, as an adult, it lives in the heart and blood vessels that supply the lungs in dogs and foxes.

Dogs can catch lungworm by eating slugs, snails and frogs or grass which they have contaminated.

Previously, the disease was confined to the south of the UK but it has now spread to other parts of the country.

Increased movement of pets around the country, as well as increasing contact between wildlife and the urban environment, may have been a big cause.

Symptoms include chronic coughing, a reluctance to exercise, weight loss, fits, vomiting, diarrhoea and persistent bleeding from even small cuts.

The Bayer Animal Health organisation has launched a ‘Be Lungworm Aware’ campaign to raise the disease’s profile.

Miriam said: “Lungworm is easily preventable by worming if it is treated early enough. Clearly, prevention is better than cure.”

“Any dog owners wanting information or advice about lungworm should get in touch with their vet.”

Buckley House is also running a free microchipping service for dogs. This is ahead of a proposal to make microchipping legally compulsory in April 2016.

“We feel that we are well justified in taking this step,” said Miriam. “Microchipping can be a vital way to reunite dogs that get lost with their owners.”