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Update on Dog Lungworm - is your dog protected?

Below is a report that appeared in one of our vet publications in June, highlighting the growing risk to our dogs from lungworm. Please ensure you worm your dog regularly with a lungworm preventitive. 

Bayer Animal Health, maker of Advocate, says that since February, veterinary surgeons have reported more than 80 cases of canine lungworm infection in the UK, of which six have died.

The fatal cases were reported in Salisbury, Crawley, Ipswich and Essex.

Of the 84 cases reported, 43 practices said it wasn't their first. With no requirement for compulsory reporting, Bayer says it is likely that other cases have gone undocumented.

Although the majority of cases reported to Bayer were found in the South of the UK, others were reported as far north as Paisley in Scotland. This, says the company, adds to the increasing base of evidence that lungworm is endemic throughout much of the UK and continues to pose a significant threat to dogs.

Recent research by Bayer found that 37% of veterinary surgeons thought cases of lungworm had increased in their area over the last five years.

The company also points towards a study from the University of Bristol which examined the fox population and found further evidence of the parasite's spread across the UK. The research suggests that the overall 18.3% of foxes in the UK are infected, significantly higher than a previous study published in 2008, which reported 7.3% infection rate. This is important as foxes spread lungworm by passing larvae in their faeces. 

50% of foxes in the South East are now found to be infected (more than double the previous figure). In the North of England and Scotland, 7.4% of foxes were found to be infected despite none being found in this region in the earlier study.

Dogs which have picked up a lungworm infection can show a number of different symptoms including breathing difficulties, a lack of energy, coughing and persistent bleeding. However, the clinical signs can be varied and some dogs may appear healthy in the early stages of infection.

So our message to all owners is - please make sure you regularly worm your dog with a wormer that kills lungworm - please note that Drontal does NOT kill lungworm, your dog is not protected from lungworm if you use this product. For more information, please contact the surgery.