CASES of an infection that can be fatal for dogs have been reported in East Lancashire.

The lungworm infection in dogs has been reported 172 times within a 50-mile radius of East Lancashire, according to Vets4Pets.

One recent case was reported in Blackburn, with two more in Clitheroe and Rawtenstall.

Vets4Pets carried out the research and created a map with Company Bayer to inform dog owners.

They found that while half (52%) of dog owners are aware of lungworm, 39% admitted they did not know exactly what it is, and a further 1 in 10 were unaware of lungworm entirely.

Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “It appears that many people still don’t fully understand how their dogs can contract it, what threats it poses and how important, and easy, prevention is. 

“There are many simple steps owners can take to help prevent their dog contracting lungworm, but ensuring your dog is given lungworm preventative treatment prescribed by your vet monthly, is really the only way of keeping them completely safe and protected. 

 “It is crucial owners don’t leave their dog’s toys or water bowls outside overnight, or let them pick up sticks in the park, as these could all have been exposed to slug or snail slime.”

Lungworm is a parasitic worm disease which usually causes cardiac and respiratory disease as well as a host of problems in lungs, liver, intestine, eyes and spinal cord.

It is transmitted and spread by slugs and snails, which may be further spread on contact with larvae in dog faeces.

Some of the symptoms of lungworm include, extensive coughing, breathing difficulties, vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss, fatigue and even bleeding gums.

To prevent dogs from catching the deadly disease, it is advised to keep dogs away from slugs and snails, any slime trails, and picking up the dog’s faeces.

More information can be found on the Vets4Pets website