By Fintan Browne, veterinary surgeon in Blanchardstown Veterinary Hospital
It seems that lungworm infections are on the rise. Up to now variety of weeks I’ve had 3 lab-confirmed circumstances of Angiostrongylus vasorum – or “lungworm” as it’s extra generally identified – in canines visiting our Anicare hospitals (2 in Blanchardstown and one in our Glasnevin department). Canine are usually contaminated by consuming small slugs and snails (or much less generally frogs) and it’s one thing that suburban pets can straightforward choose up in their very own again gardens. When a canine eats the contaminated intermediate hosts the parasite continues its complicated lifecycle and the worms mature and stay within the blood vessels near the lungs and the guts. From right here they lay eggs which grow to be larvae that penetrate into the small airways of the lungs from the place they’re coughed up and swallowed. Lastly these larvae are handed within the canines faeces, after which can re-infect slugs, snails and frogs within the surroundings.
Angiostrongylus infections may cause a myriad of various scientific indicators in an contaminated canine. It is without doubt one of the few pet parasites we now have in Eire that may ceaselessly have deadly penalties. As a result of the grownup worms stay inside blood vessels they have an effect on blood clotting. Many canines we see with this situation develop bleeding issues, and that is usually the rationale they’re introduced to us within the first place. Different signs can embrace coughing, breathlessness and generally neurological issues (if the animal haemorrhages into its mind or backbone).
The case I noticed this morning was a younger canine that had developed a harsh productive cough over the previous few days. It had little or no contact with different canines which made typical infectious bronchitis – which is widespread in canines – unlikely on this case. The canine kindly supplied me with a big phlegm pattern (by coughing it up at my ft). I instantly positioned a drop of this on a glass slide and examined it underneath the microscope. Angiostrongylus infections can usually be very troublesome to diagnose however on this case I used to be in a position to establish the microscopic parasite larvae swimming about within the canine’s phlegm! It it all the time very rewarding to have the ability to truly see the pathogen answerable for an animal’s sickness, which might be why I’m so hooked up to my previous Leitz microscope. Right here’s a hyperlink to a video of this morning’s star pathogen:
Fortunately the situation is treatable and this morning’s affected person ought to do very properly. Nonetheless and not using a fast analysis and immediate remedy the canine’s outlook would have been a lot worse. Some routine parasite remedies may also be used to assist defend towards lungworm infections in canines, any of our vets and nurses will have the ability to advise you on the best way to greatest defend your pet.