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Lungworms in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Lungworms in Dogs

Lungworms are a type of parasitic worm that causes diseases in dogs. Lungworm disease is caused by the lungworm parasite Angiostrongylus vasorum, which infects the lungs and pulmonary arteries.

The worms can also move from their initial site to other parts of the body, including the brain or spinal cord. It may cause seizures and neurological signs such as head tilt, circling, stiffness, blindness and paralysis.

In this post, you’re going to learn about lungworms, the symptoms of lungworm infection, treatment options for lungworm disease, how to prevent your dog from contracting worms.

What Causes Lungworms in Dogs?

There are various causes of lungworms in dogs but the predominant cause is from slugs and snails. The parasite develops in these garden pests then gets passed on when dogs eat them.

Slug slime that’s been swallowed by a dog can also be a cause of lungworm disease, as the slime itself can carry lungworm larvae. Another case of how your dog will contract lungworms is through touching or swallowing an infected animal’s feces.

The larvae are then released into the environment where they are consumed by mosquitos, slugs, snails or other insects. After incubating in these pests for about 3 weeks, the parasite develops and gets passed along to any dog who comes in contact with them.

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Can Humans Get Lungworms?

Lungworms can also affect humans, but it’s important to note that a type of lungworm in dogs is not the same as a human version.

Angiostrongylus vasorum affects humans with compromised immune systems, particularly those who have cancer or HIV/AIDS.

This form of infection in humans causes eosinophilic meningitis, which is swelling of the brain. Symptoms may include seizures, vomiting, cough or fever.

If you are infected with this parasite you’ll notice it’s the same as many other types of lungworms. This means that your dog probably has a lungworm infection too!

Signs & Symptoms of Lungworms in Dogs

Another important question:

How do I know if my dog is infected with lungworms?

The most surefire way to check if your dog has lungworms is to take their stool sample (poop) to your vet or call our mobile vet van team to come to check your dog in the comfort of its surroundings.

Some common symptoms you may notice with your dog are:

However, symptoms of worms in your dog may vary depending on the severity of the infection. If your dog is heavily infested with lungworms you could see bloody diarrhea or blood in their vomit. Some dogs might even produce blood-tinged urine (pee).

What is the Best Treatment For Lungworms in Dogs?

Luckily, lungworm infection is treatable.

The most common treatment for detecting and removing an infestation of lungworms is via a deworming medication. Your vet might also prescribe some other medications such as painkillers to help with any discomfort your dog may experience.

lungworms in dogs

If diagnosed early on, the prognosis is very positive for dogs infected with lungworms.

However, the condition becomes more serious the longer it’s left untreated.

Prevention Is Key!

It’s best to have your dog regularly checked for lungworms, especially if they often eat slugs or snails.

Ways To Prevent Lungworms

There are preventative medications available to help protect your dog from lungworm infections. These treatments usually contain praziquantel, which is an anti-parasitic drug designed to be effective against lungworms in dogs.

Just like the deworming treatment, these also come in different formulations for puppies and adult dogs. Some also come in topical forms to be applied on the skin.

Keeping your dog on preventative medications can not only keep lungworms at bay; it can also help with other parasitic infections.

If you’re concerned about lungworms, give us a call here at The House Call Vet today! We have mobile veterinary teams that are ready and waiting to help.

We are an animal clinic that is dedicated to serving dogs in Brisbane and all surrounding areas.

What is Ehrlichiosis - brown dogs sitting outside

Prevention is always better than cure!

The best way to protect your pet is by making sure they are dewormed on a regular basis. Do not wait until warning signs become obvious. Take steps to ensure that your dog does not become infected in the future.

At The House Call Vet, we help you prevent lungworms in your dog by offering our preventative medication for dogs. In a case where your dog is infected, we will treat your dog for lungworms.

Whether you’d like to visit our clinic either in Kenmore or Sunnypark or would like our mobile vat units to come where you are, all you have to do is give us a call! Need after-hours vet service? No problem.

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