29th Jun, 2022

Dog fights for life following unsuspected case of lungworm

A COURAGEOUS pup was left completely blind and fighting for her life after the discovery she was riddled with a deadly parasite.

The owners of one year-old Minnie, took her to the vet after she had become withdrawn and ‘a little under the weather.’

Tests results were unclear and suddenly Minnie’s symptoms – including complete blindness – spiralled dramatically.

A final test revealed the poorly cockapoo was riddled with lungworm – a parasite spread by slugs and snails.

The lungworm had caused bleeding on Minnie’s brain, and the pup – now barely conscious – was given clotting medication.

Owner Warren Matthews said: “Seeing her like that was heart-wrenching. When the infection was at its worst we had to have some very serious and frank discussions with our vet, who said that we may need to consider euthanasia if treatment didn’t work.”

But the pup proved a fighter and surprised the surgery when within days, she was walking again.

And after two months of intense treatment, Minnie’s sight is gradually returning.

Clinician Georgina Allsopp at the Willows Surgery in Solihull said: “Minnie is the worst case of lungworm I’ve ever seen, and the symptoms she displayed were not typical of the infection, which is why it was not our first thought. As lungworm can present itself in so many different ways, it can be tricky for vets to diagnose.”

Dogs can become infected with lungworm after eating garden slugs and snails, or potentially even by ingesting the slime of an infected slug. Once inside the dog’s system, the parasite travels through the body eventually ending up in the heart. If left untreated, the dog’s health can rapidly deteriorate, and even result in death.

Unlike other parasites, such as ticks and fleas, dogs may not initially show visible signs of a lungworm infection and not all worming products are effective against lungworm. Pet owners should speak to their vet about treatment against lungworm.

According to the ‘Act Against Lungworm’ map, there have been over 204 reported lungworm cases in the Solihull area in the last year which are thought to be on the increase.

Visit www.lungworm.co.uk for more information.

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