DOG owners and walkers have been warned against a potentially fatal parasite as an interactive map has revealed where cases have been reported so far.

More than 50 cases of lungworm have been reported across Gwent and South Wales.

The parasite, which can cause a several symptoms and require immediate veterinary assistance, poses a problem as it lives among slugs and snails.

Dogs, and even foxes, can be affected as there have been cases where they have eaten them, ingesting lungworm larvae.

A new interactive map shows areas where lungworm has been reported across the UK.

And the map, which has been produced by Elanco who develops and researches treatment of disease among pets, shows dozens of reported cases in Gwent.

Cases have been found in Abergavenny, Chepstow, Monmouth, Usk and Caldicot.

While there have also been reports of lungworm in Newport, Caerleon, Blackwood and Risca.

There have been 293 lungworm cases reported within a 50 mile radius of Newport.

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You can view the map here.

What is lungworm?

The map has been created due to the sheer seriousness lungworm can present if not treated in a timely manner.

Officially known as Angiostrongylus vasorum, the parasite can cause severe illness among dogs, eventually leading to death if not caught in time.

The PDSA has said that despite its name, the parasite travels around the whole body and cause breathing difficulties, heart failure, seizures and bleeding disorders.


What are the symptoms?

That has prompted the PDSA to release a list of symptoms that dog owners should look out for if they believe their dog has come into contact, or eaten a slug or snail.

It says that symptoms can be difficult to spot because they are often very vague and varied, but says common symptoms include the following.

  • Coughing
  • Breathing problems (fast, heavy, noisy)
  • Weight loss
  • Unexplained bruising and bleeding
  • Seizures
  • Collapse and shock
  • Blindness

What should you do?

Vets across the country say that dog owners should contact their local practice immediately if their dog is showing any symptoms of lungworm.

The PDSA say this is because treatment depends on how severe the infection is and what symptoms they are experiencing, which requires medical attention.

It said that vets will tend to kill the lungworm at the first opportunity, although this process is critical, meanwhile certain cases may require hospitalisation.

It said: "Mild lungworm infections often only require lungworm treatment and medication to go home with, but if your dog is seriously ill, they may need intensive care in the veterinary hospital."

How can I prevent lungworm?

The PDSA states that you can take steps to prevent lungworm with a range of de-worming products, which include protection against the parasite.

It goes on to say that dog owners should purchase de-worming treatment that are a veterinary licenced product as they offer more effective ingredients.