If you’ve never heard of lungworms, don’t panic. I hadn’t either, at least not until reading a release from Cision, originally from the Canadian Animal Health Institute.
Most pet owners have likely heard of worms in general before; heartworm, tapeworms, intestinal worms, etc. Lungworms, however, are a form of a new parasite that has developed that refers to several different parasites located in Canada, the release explains.
Lungworms typically reside in the lungs of dogs and cats, as well as their airways, causing inflammation, irritation, and coughing. Symptoms of lungworm can mimic other conditions that cause coughing in pets, for example, canine cough or feline asthma. In some cases, “lungworms can also cause a wider variety of clinical signs including neurologic, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and bleeding disorders and can even be fatal for infected dogs,” the release says.
Fox lungworm and French heartworm are two types of lungworm typically found in dogs. Dogs can become infected with either via contact with infected fox’s feces (they tend to eat fox poop, apparently) or even licking slime from toys or water bowls that infected snails and/or slugs have been on.
Cats contract lungworms similar to how dogs do, for example, by eating mice or birds that have consumed infected snails and slugs.
Scheduling regular checkups with a veterinarian for your critters is the best way to ensure their overall health. If you notice your pet is coughing, it might be a good idea to take them to see a veterinarian.
To read about lungworms for yourself, be sure to check out the Cision release I linked above (https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/are-lungworms-something-you-should-know-about-701764112.html).
Familiarizing yourself with this topic could be useful for your own pet, or perhaps someone else’s. If you’re a pet owner, it’s always a good idea to stay on top of news pertaining to their health.
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