I’m sure I’m not the only dog owner whose adorable canine has a taste for the finer things in life – like nibbling delicately on sheep droppings, slaking their thirst from muddy puddles, rolling luxuriously in fox poo, crunching snail shells, and sampling the street buffet at every opportunity.
Last month on our trip to the Peak District Lettice could be found sticking her nose everywhere she shouldn’t have been as we walked in parks, across moors and in fields. Shortly after we returned, some of you may have seen me mentioning on social media that she became quite sick, throwing up constantly, with a very upset tum and no desire to eat. Several blood and poo tests, some pills, and a week of worry later, she recovered (the vet thought it was an unidentified parasite infection) but it was a reminder that I need to be both more vigilant and give Lettice prophylaxis against possible parasite infections.
oh Lettice, you flirt!
One of the possible parasites that Lettice could pick up on her foraging missions is Lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum), a parasite that is now endemic throughout much of the UK and ROI. It can cause serious health problems in dogs and can even be fatal if not diagnosed and treated. Dogs can become infected when they accidentally (or deliberately) snails, or ingest their slime whilst rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles, or outdoor water bowls, or picking up their toys.
Lettice and I spent a lovely day in Streatham last month meeting the vet Luke Gamble, who is an expert on Lungworm, and hanging out with fellow dog lover Ben Fogle and a pack of other dogs. Including quite a lot of sausages. (Lettice wasn’t sure whether to be alarmed or overjoyed.)
Luke explained in detail how Lungworm infections can result in a range of different symptoms, which may easily be confused with other illnesses. However improved detection methods including blood tests and poo sampling mean more and more cases are now being confirmed.
It is possible to treat a dog infected with lungworm and this can result in full recovery, but preventative products are available and with regular monthly use prevention is easy to achieve. It is important to note that not all parasite prevention products protect against lungworm, so it is important to speak to a qualified veterinary practitioner, who can recommend an appropriate product.
After lunch we went for a lovely walk on Streatham Common with the dog squad. Lettice of course wandered off on her own.
Luke Gamble with Lettice
More information can be found at: www.lungworm.co.uk
This post is sponsored by Bayer, in support of their ACT Against Lungworm campaign.
All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.