Bayer warns of increased spread of deadly dog disease
Newbury - Bayer Animal Health is warning dog owners to be on the lookout for a potentially fatal disease caused by the lungworm parasite.
The warning comes as “Be Lungworm Aware” is launched to raise awareness of a disease that many dog owners are uncertain about. A recent survey[i] of 1,000 UK dog owners has revealed that the majority (84 per cent) admit not being able to identify the symptoms of lungworm in their dog, despite a study issued by the Royal Veterinary College, London, warning of its spread across the country. The study[ii] has shown the parasite is spreading beyond the traditional geographic distribution with 36 per cent of veterinary practices across the country reporting at least one case of lungworm in the past year.
Lungworm is a parasite that dogs become infected with after eating common garden slugs and snails carrying the larvae. Once inside the dog’s system, the parasite travels through the body eventually ending up in the heart. If the infection is left untreated, the dog’s health can rapidly deteriorate, often resulting in death.
Bayer Animal Health group product manager, Caroline Braidwood, said: “Once seen as a problem in isolated areas, lungworm has spread in the UK. While dog owners are becoming more aware of lungworm, there is still a real lack of understanding as to the warning signs associated with the condition.”
Dogs are naturally inquisitive and are frequently keen to test new things out with their mouths, as 59 per cent of UK dog owners admit their animal has eaten something it shouldn’t have.
Caroline Braidwood continued: “Dogs which have picked up a lungworm infection can show a number of different symptoms. Lungworm often gives rise to breathing difficulties, ranging from a lack of energy to coughing. Dogs may also show general signs of being unwell including weight loss, reduced appetite and vomiting. Persistent bleeding, even from minor cuts is also a sign to watch out for. However, the symptoms can be varied and some dogs may appear healthy in the early stages of infection, so if owners are concerned about their dog’s health, they should contact their veterinary practice for further advice.”
More information about Lungworm is available from the “Be Lungworm Aware” website, www.lungworm.co.uk.
[i] Opinion Matters, January 2012, 1,000 dog owners
[ii] Royal Veterinary College survey 2012, 1,419 veterinary practices
Notes to Editors
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