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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.

Hip Surgery for rescued puppy

2 weeks ago whilst we were in Fiji we rescued an abandoned puppy that we estimate is about 3 months old. She was starving, filthy, covered in ticks and could barely stand or walk. We fed her, washed her, removed all ticks and just gave her love. We called her Pretzel as she was so skinny when we found her that all her bones were sticking out and her hip bones looked like a big twisted pretzel and her long skinny legs looked like Pretzel sticks. Our intention was to find her a home in Fiji but after a week or so she had gained weight, but we noticed that her left hip bone was still protruding and that when she walked we noticed that her left back foot turned out slightly. Also, when she ran she would use both back legs together and hop like a bunny. We took her to an animal shelter in Fiji called Animals Fiji and they examined her and advised that they thought it might be dislocated. They X-rayed her and then sedated her to try and manipulate the bone back into the socket. This was unsuccessful. The vet advised that it appeared that the end of the bone where the ball should be round was malformed either from a trauma/injury when young or by birth. He advised that he does not have the equipment in Fiji to treat her properly and that she would need surgery to correct the bone and to tighten the ligaments to her support her leg. We are exporting her to Australia on the 7th of March and are trying to raise some funds to assist us. We are hoping that you can assistance to find a Vet in Melbourne that could assist with the operation at a reasonable price.