Dog owners warned of lungworm danger to pets after damp May weather
Thousands of dogs could be at risk from the deadly parasite lungworm, spread by slugs and snails, with many estimated new dog owners walking unprotected pets, vets are warning.
Damp weather in May, experts suggest slug and snail activity will explode – meaning dogs are at greater risk of contracting lungworm in the garden, on walks and even by drinking from water bowls or puddles.
Vets are also worried that thousands of new owners who bought a dog during the pandemic are not aware of the danger.
A survey from Elanco Animal Health indicates that 42% of dog owners are not aware of what lungworm is or how it can infect dogs – and only 21% had given their dog a lungworm preventative treatment in the past month.
Dogs can be infected with the potentially fatal parasite when they eat slugs and snails in their garden or on walks.
They can also pick up the parasite while rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls.
The slime of slugs and snails can contain the infective lungworm parasite.
Elanco's new campaign - Open your eyes to deadly lungworm - warns owners of the effect parasite can have on their dogs.
Luke Gamble, veterinarian and campaign supporter, said: "I care passionately about this campaign because so many dog owners are unaware of the dangers of lungworm.
"The key thing is understanding that over-the-counter medications can't protect dogs against lungworm, so it's vital owners speak to their vet to make sure their dog is continuously protected."