In this wet, miserable autumn weather one group of animals is having a field day – slugs and snails – they seem to be everywhere. Now, slugs and snails are not generally of much interest to vets (we do not practice slug medicine!) however they are relevant when it comes to our dogs as they can carry Lungworm.

Lungworm is a parasite that has become increasingly widespread in the UK over the last few years. When I qualified it was not really an issue but with our climate getting warmer and the travel of pets from the continent more frequent there are more and more cases being reported.

The south east of the country is more severely affected than this area (hence you may have seen a lot of chat about lungworm on social media) but there have been reported cases in the west country as well. Lungworm is carried by slugs and snails – not just in their bodies but in the trails that they leave behind. So if your dog has chews or food bowls that are left outside, or they eat nasties out on walks they could be at risk.

Lungworm can result in serious bleeding issues in dogs and can be life-threatening. In order to prevent Lungworm issues you need to regularly worm your dog – recommended advice is that, if you think your dog is at risk, you should worm them monthly. There are lots of different worming regimes out here and it can get a bit muddling so I would recommend speaking to your vet about he risk factors for your individual dog and what they consider to be a good worming regime.