Vets4Pets which has branches in Sunderland, Hartlepool and South Shields, says new research has found that nearly half (48%) of UK dog owners do not know what lungworm is.
The parasite can be deadly to dogs if ingested and it uses multiple animals to help complete its lifecycle, with dogs and foxes as the primary hosts.
With darker evenings and mornings fast approaching, dogs are more likely to come into contact with slugs, snails and even frogs, which can all pass on the deadly parasite.
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Dog owners in the North East (40%) are most likely to have directly experienced lungworm in their pet.
Thousands of cases of the potentially fatal disease have been reported across the UK but a fifth (19%) of dog owners whose pet have had lungworm admitted they still weren’t entirely sure what it is, while 5% didn’t know at all.
Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “It appears that many people still don’t fully understand how their dogs can contract it, what threats it poses and how important, and easy, prevention is.
“There are many simple steps owners can take to help prevent their dog contracting lungworm, but ensuring your dog is given lungworm preventative treatment prescribed by your vet monthly, is really the only way of keeping them completely safe and protected.”
For further information on lungworm, visit: www.vets4pets.com/pet-health-advice/dog-advice/lungworm-and-your-dog/