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How Do Dogs Get Lungworm?


We explain which dogs are at risk of developing this type of parasitic infection...

With the recent news that TV Host Lisa Wilkinson’s new puppy became paralysed with lungworm after an encounter with garden slug, here at we'll explain the causes and precautions of the disease.

Lungworms are a parasitic worm that settles in the lungs and windpipe causing severe respiratory problems in dogs. Unlike many diseases lungworm is not actually passed from dog to dog. The worm needs slug and snail hosts in order to grow and develop and it is from eating these that infection may occur.

With high rainfall experienced across many parts of Australia, slugs are an increasing problem for us outdoors; dogs that spend a lot of time roaming in the woods & fields are at higher risk of developing this type of parasitic infection, Dogs become infected with lungworms when they drink water or eat prey infected with the larval stage of the worm.

Checks you can do see if your dog has a lungworm infection include:

  • Physical examination (lung auscultation) and history
  • Chest X-rays
  • Fecal examination for eggs
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Examination of fluid from lungs (tracheal wash)

If your dog is unlucky enough to de dignosed with lungworm, treatments are available including anti-parasitic medications. Make sure you take your buddy to your local Vet to help with this disease.