PDSA is warning dog owners of the dangers of slugs and snails passing on lungworm to their pets.
Sean Wensley, Senior Veterinary Surgeon at PDSA said: “With reports of an increase in slugs and snails due to the recent wet weather, it is important for dog owners to be aware of the risks of lungworm, which dogs can catch if they eat an infected slug or snail. Signs that your dog may be suffering from lungworm can include lethargy, difficulty breathing, occasional vomiting, coughing (possibly coughing up blood) and nosebleeds.
"Spinal pain, paralysis and fitting may occur in some dogs. All these signs can be intermittent and not all dogs will show these signs – in fact, some dogs may initially show no signs at all – so if you are concerned that something may be wrong it is important to contact your vet, as without treatment lungworm can be fatal.
“A regular worming programme is also vital, so speak to your vet to ensure that your dog is receiving the necessary protection. Your vet will understand the lungworm risk in your area and can offer advice accordingly.
“Some dogs will purposefully eat slugs and snails, whereas others may accidentally eat them when playing with toys outside, eating grass or drinking from puddles. If you are trying to control slugs and snails, remember that slug pellets can be poisonous to cats and dogs, so if you must use them, do so with great care. Alternative methods include encouraging hedgehogs in to your garden, which will feed on up to 100 bugs, including slugs and snails, every night.
For tips on how to attract hedgehogs, visit www.hedgehogstreet.org”