Slugs and snails and puppy dog ailments


As the Spring weather returns and pets spend longer outdoors, many of our dogs – especially young dogs– risk contracting lungworm from eating garden slugs and snails, according to veterinary charity PDSA.

Sean Wensley, PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, said: "Some slugs and snails carry infective larvae which, if eaten by a dog, can lead to lungworm. Lungworms live in the blood vessels that supply the lungs, which can cause coughing, as well as problems with circulation. In rare cases these worm infestations can be very serious – even fatal.”

According to the charity, if pet owners answer ‘yes’ to any of the following, their pet is at greater risk of getting lungworm:

  • Does my dog eat slugs and/or snails?
  • Does my dog eat grass and/or drink from puddles?
  • Does my dog rummage through the undergrowth?
  • Is my dog under two years of age?

In some areas of the country, vets have already seen several serious lungworm cases. At PDSA Thamesmead PetAid hospital in south east London, vets have treated four severe cases in the past week alone.

“This rise in the number of cases of lungworm should remind pet owners of the importance of getting their pet regularly wormed by their vet” added Sean.

“Lungworm is just one of many types of worm that are controlled by regular worming. It’s important to use effective worming products and your vet is the best person to advise on worm control in your area. Where there is a risk of lungworm, your vet can ensure your dog receives the necessary protection.”

It’s not just a pet’s health that can be affected by worms; they can pose a real health risk to humans too. Some worms and other parasites can be passed onto humans from cats and dogs which can prove particularly dangerous for children and pregnant women, causing blindness and birth defects.

PDSA recommends dog and cat owners carry out a thorough worming programme for the whole of their pet’s life. For more information on worms and how to prevent your pet from getting them please visit


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