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Lungworm Facts

Lungworm infection has become an increasing concern for dogs in Ontario as a cause for chronic respiratory disease with signs such as coughing, gagging, lethargy, exercise intolerance and difficulty breathing. Initially primarily a problem in Atlantic Canada where an estimated 21% of dogs presenting with signs of chronic respiratory disease are infected with Fox Lungworm, it has now spread with several documented cases in Ontario.

The two species of concern in Canada are the Fox Lungworm and the French Heartworm. So far the Fox Lungworm is of greatest concern to Ontario dogs. Foxes, coyotes and raccoons are all hosts to this parasite and their close proximity to urban areas increases the risk of parasite transmission to our pet dogs.

Snails, slugs and their mucus play an important part in the transmission of the disease. Dogs become infected by ingesting lungworm larvae found within snails or slugs themselves or by vegetation exposed to snail mucus (which contains infective larvae), contaminated outdoor water bowls or dog toys, or by drinking from contaminated puddles.

Once the larvae are ingested by a dog they migrate from the gut, through the liver and into the blood vessels that return blood to the right side of the heart. From here the heart pumps the larvae into the lungs where they mature into adult Lungworms. The adults then lay eggs into the small airways of the lungs and when they hatch small L1 larvae are then coughed up by the dog and swallowed. These new young larvae are passed in the feces into the environment where snails and slugs consume the infected feces and the larvae mature to a stage where they can infect a new dog, fox, coyote or raccoon.

Infected wildlife or dogs will quickly contaminate their environment with many lungworm larvae increasing the risk for reinfection or for infection to others.

Once a dog is infected they are likely to start coughing or gagging. This cough may become chronic and some dogs may have difficulty breathing. Fortunately, there is an approved treatment and prevention product available from your veterinarian by prescription. Please talk to your veterinarian or drop in at the College Manor Vet Hospital about your dog’s risks for this parasite as well as how you may protect them from this and other nasty parasites this coming season.

By Dr. Allan Donais, DVM

Veterinarian

 

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Last updated: September 7, 2021

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we have made some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

Note: Due to the continued health precautions recommended by Health Canada, we have elected to discontinue 'in clinic' pick-ups for items ordered via our Online Store including both medications and food with immediate effect. The delivery option is extremely flexible and they will deliver wherever you choose.

3. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday - Thursday: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Sunday: CLOSED

 

NEW PET OWNERS

Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

Your dedicated team at College Manor Veterinary Hospital