The lungworm, Angiostrongylus vasorum (also known as French Heartworm), is a parasite that infects dogs. The adult of this particular lungworm lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs, where it can cause a host of problems. Left untreated, the infection can often be fatal. There have been a few cases reported in Scotland and these are growing, so it is out there, and will become more common.
The lungworm parasite is carried by slugs and snails. The problem arises when dogs purposefully or accidentally eat these common garden pests when rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys.
Foxes can also become infected with the lungworm, and have been implicated in the spread of the parasite across the country
Prevention can be done along with flea control by using a topical liquid product (vet-only), which protects fully against fleas as well as killing skin and ear mites, gut roundworms and lungworms. To be effective, this must be used monthly for continuous control of fleas as well as lungworm and roundworm, in addition to ear mites and skin mites. That is 100% effective prevention! We feel this is ideal for the smaller dogs who will rarely pick up tapeworms, so do not need treated for them. Larger dogs are often in more remote places for exercise and for them, tick control is more important as well as flea control, so for them we use a different product (vet-only) - the best flea and tick preparation available - and because they tend to scavenge more, they should be wormed separately using a wormer which kills roundworms as well as tapeworms. We use Drontal for this - one dose kills all - and we sell Drontal cheaper than any supermarkets in Dundee.
If you have a large dog and want to covere ticks AND lungworm, then you can use both topical products (liquids applied to the skin), 2 weeks apart, though it works out to be quite expensive to use both at the same time.
Don't hesitate to ask for advice as it can be confusing.
If you need to be reminded to deworm your dog or cat, update your mobile number when you buy your next wormer at a Parkside surgery and thereafter you will receive a text when the next dose is due!