This National Dog Day, 26 August 2023, Elanco has launched a campaign to unite the UK animal health community to ACT Against Lungworm, a potentially fatal parasite now found across much of the UK.
Pet owners, veterinary surgeons and community organisations are being urged to pledge their support to “Aim for Zero” deaths from lungworm by visiting their website.
The campaign webpage highlights the growing risk of lungworm and spotlights small actions that individuals and groups can undertake, to help protect dogs from lungworm and stop preventable deaths.
Commitments range from checking the lungworm map to establish the risk of lungworm in your area or a new travel destination in the UK, to sharing information with fellow pet owners about how lungworm is transmitted. Veterinary practices and organisations are being invited to raise awareness across their communities and report local lungworm cases on their website.
Support Dogs, a national charity that provides assistance dogs for adults and children with epilepsy, autism and various physical disabilities, was among the first to join the Elanco initiative. Support Dogs Corporate Partnerships Manager, Chris Daykin, says his organisation has pledged to raise awareness of lungworm risk factors among pet owners. “By sharing this information, we have the potential to raise awareness and ensure no dog dies of this preventable disease,” says Chris. “This important partnership ensures our dogs are fully protected to get on with their life-changing work.”
As well as pledging support, people who visit the webpage can take the new Lungworm Lookout Quiz to test their knowledge of lungworm and how infection can spread. One in five dog owners do not know any of the risk factors for lungworm highlighting a significant gap in knowledge. Given the rise in staycations and the popularity of pet-friendly travel options across the UK, this leaves many dogs vulnerable. Regional case numbers can be checked on their website.
Lungworm can be prevented with monthly treatment prescribed by a vet, but only 21 percent of pet owners are aware of this.
Veterinary Surgeons can support dog owners with any questions about providing regular parasiticide treatment that is appropriate for our pets. Ian Wright is a veterinary parasitologist and co-owner of The Mount Veterinary Practice in Fleetwood, Lancashire. He confirms that it is important to understand your pet’s risk, the cover they need and outcomes of treatment. “The first step before providing preventative treatment is risk assessment, to understand the lifestyle of the dog”, says Ian. “All pets are individuals and will have different needs, so speaking with your vet is crucial to ensuring your pet gets the most appropriate care”.
Veterinarian Dr Ben Simpson-Vernon (@ben.the.vet) says many dog owners mistakenly believe that their animals are covered for lungworm by non-prescription worming treatments. “If there’s any doubt in your mind, speak with your practice vet,” says Ben. “Lungworm can be fatal, but the great news is that it’s also avoidable! This campaign empowers pet owners and organisations to become a ‘Zero Hero!’ and work towards zero deaths.”
Did you know?
- Lungworm is potentially fatal
- Dogs can become infected when they ingest slugs or snails carrying lungworm larvae
- Slugs and snails can be found in undergrowth, puddles, outdoor water bowls or on toys left outside, and can be easily missed
- The average British garden contains more than 20,000 slugs and snails
- Lungworm can be prevented, but only with a monthly, vet-prescribed product. Only 21 percent of UK pet owners are aware of this
- The signs of lungworm can be easily confused with other illnesses, such as changes in behaviour (depression, lethargy or seizures), breathing problems, or general sickness leading to weight loss, vomiting or poor appetite
Protect your furry friends this National Dog Day with a monthly preventative lungworm treatment. Visit the website to find out more and pledge to be a Zero Hero!