An interactive map has revealed the lungworm hotspots in the UK- including how many cases have been reported in and around Blackburn.

Vet have issued a warning to pet owners about the dangers of lungworm, suggesting that there may be an increase in cases due to May’s damp weather.

Here’s all you need to know about lungworm- including how many cases have been reported on the interactive map in East Lancashire:

What is lungworm?

It is a parasite that can be deadly to dogs if ingested.  

According to the Blue Cross, dogs get lungworm by eating larvae found in infected snails, slugs or frogs. They can also accidentally eat infected tiny slugs if they are on a toy or their fur.

The lungworm larvae then grow inside the dog and adult lungworms move through their body to live in their heart and blood vessels.

Dogs can pass the larvae in their waste, which will then infect slugs and snails who then pass it onto dogs- and the cycle continues.

According to Vets4Pets, dogs don’t actually need to eat the slugs and snails to get lungworm as the larvae are in their slimy coating- but “habitual slug and snail eaters are more at risk”.

What are the symptoms of lungworm in dogs?

It can be difficult to diagnose lungworm as symptoms vary.

However, here are some common ones you should keep an eye out for:

  • coughing
  • breathing problems
  • reluctance to exercise
  • if a dog gets a minor injury, like a small cut, it might bleed for longer
  • abnormal blood clotting

Humans cannot get lungworm from dogs.

How many cases have been reported in East Lancashire?

My Pet and I, a one-stop online magazine for new or experienced dog and cat owners, who want to raise more awareness about the potentially fatal infection.

The team created an interactive map showcasing where the outbreaks have occurred.

According to the map, 182 cases of lungworm have been reported within a 50 mile radius of Blackburn.

Lancashire Telegraph: Lungworm outbreaks in East Lancashire (Photo: My Pet and I)Lungworm outbreaks in East Lancashire (Photo: My Pet and I)

In Blackburn specifically, there was one reported case and another was reported in the BB7 2AL postcode in Clitheroe.

Another report was made in the BB4 7PA postcode near Rawtenstall.

You can check how many lungworm reports have been made near you by inputting your postcode in to the My Pet and I website.

How can lungworm be treated?

A survey from Elanco Animal Health indicates that 42% of dog owners are not aware of what lungworm is or how it can infect dogs.

A poll also found that only 21% of dog owners surveyed had given their dog a lungworm preventative treatment in the past month.

Treatment depends on how bad your dog’s lungworm symptoms are.

Vets will usually kill the lungworm using a deworming product but more serious cases may require hospital treatment.

However, preventing lungworm is more effective that treating it.

According to the Vets4Pets website, there are lots of options for preventing an infestation developing including:

  • Regular worming treatments. Worming treatments usually come in the form of tablets or spot-ons, and may manage a range of parasites including lungworms. Make sure to speak to a vet about the best anti-parasitic on offer, as many over the counter treatments have poor efficacy.
  • Picking up your dog’s faeces quickly will help prevent the spread of lungworm.
  • Removing toys and bowls from the garden overnight so they are not exposed to slugs and snails.
  • Changing the water in water bowls frequently.