While humans have been locked down to shield against one major health threat, it appears another has emerged that could pose a real peril to the pooches bought as lockdown pets.

Vets have warned that the unusually wet May has made it more likely that dogs can contract lungworm, a parasite that can cause severe health problems and even be fatal.

This increased thereat is due to the higher number of slugs and snails about as a result of the wetter weather. Lungworms are parasites that are found in infected snails and slugs and the fact more of the creatures are around increases the risk dogs can ingest them accidentally by drinking from puddles during walks.

“The lungworm larvae then grow inside the dog and adult lungworms move through their body to live in their heart and blood vessels,” the Blue Cross Website explains.

Once inside the dogs, the parasites can move in to the hearts and blood vessels of dogs, which can lead to respiratory problems. Worse still, when the lungworms reach maturity after 28 days they start laying eggs and producing more parasites, with this potentially leading to blood clots and haemorrhages, which can be fatal if not treated.

All this provides an extra reason to make sure your pet has a dog tracker chip. This will always be important to help you get your dog back if it goes missing, but by doing so sooner will reduce the risk that your pet might contract lungworm while wandering around drinking from puddles. It also means any infestation they do get can be spotted and treated sooner, protecting their health.

Other invertebrates that can threaten your dog this summer include ticks and fleas, but it is important to note that parasites are not just a summer problem, and you should be aware of the health risks they face from creepy-crawlies all year round.

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