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Lungworm in Dogs

A guide on a potentially fatal disease

Lungworm is a kind of parasitic worm known as “Angiostrongvlus Vasorum” and it can affect dogs, badgers, and foxes. It lives in their heart and/or the blood vessels that supply the lungs.

These days, lungworm is described to be an “emerging disease” meaning it is gradually becoming a fairly common sight. It is still unclear exactly what has been causing lungworm to spread but the increased movement of pets around the country and the increasing contact between wildlife are thought to have played a huge part.

How do dogs get lungworm?

A dog can get lungworm if it consumes larvae found in infected slugs, snails, and frogs. They can even get accidentally infected if they eat the infected tiny slugs that they find on toys or on their fur.

Once the lungworm larvae enter the dog’s body, they then grow inside the dog and evolve into adult lungworms that move through their body and reside in the dog’s heart and blood vessels. This causes breathing problems and can even cause pneumonia and heart problems. In some mild cases, the infection remains unnoticed by owners but after just 28 days, the worms will start to produce their own larvae and this will lead to serious problems.
Your dog can even suffer hemorrhages in the lungs, intestine, liver, eyes, spinal cord, or pretty much anywhere else in the body. If it is left untreated, it can be very fatal in severe cases.

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Symptoms of lungworm in dogs

Diagnosing lungworm in dogs can be quite difficult because the symptoms vary. The common symptoms include:

  • Breathing problems

  • Blood in dog stool

  • Coughing

  • Reluctance to exercise

  • Abnormal blood clotting

Vets will examine a small sample of your dog’s feces under the microscope to help them diagnose lungworm. Even though this isn’t 100% reliable as lungworm isn’t present in every sample, but it works most of the time.

Dogs cannot pass on the disease directly from dog to dog but it can be passed in the form of larvae in their waste. This will then infect more snails and slugs that are eaten by other dogs and the disease will spread rapidly within the dog community.

How to prevent lungworm in dogs?

You should get in touch with your vet and talk to them about the regular lungworm treatment and prevention from lungworm. You should be alert even more so if your dog travels with you.

You should be extra vigilant if you spot snails or slugs in your garden or local parks where you go around for walks with your dog. You should consult your vet as soon as you notice your dog is unwell.

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What to do if your dog has lungworm?

Lungworm in dogs can be a serious, potentially even fatal condition if left untreated. If you are worried that your beloved four-legged pet has lungworm, you should immediately contact your vet and set up an appointment. Once your dog is diagnosed and treated, it will easily recover from lungworm. The earlier the treatment is done the better will be the prognosis.

Village Vets – Best diagnosis and treatment of Lungworm

At Village Vets, taking good care of your pets is our priority. We take every case seriously as each pet is treated as our own. Our aim is to provide your pets with the same level of love and care that they are usually given at their homes.


We have a team of talented vets who are experts in the field of pet health and hardworking nurses who work every day of the week to make sure your pets are given the love and affection they deserve.

If you observe your dog has been affected by Lungworm and want to consult us, you can give us a call and we will schedule a session with you.