Lungworm Advisory Sheet

  • July 2013
  • Posted By Jesse Davicioni

The Lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum (also known as French Heartworm) is a parasite that infects dogs. The adult of this particular lungworm lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs, where it can cause a host of problems. Left untreated, the infection can often be fatal.

The lungworm parasite is carried by slugs and snails. The problem arises when dogs purposefully or accidentally eat these common garden pests (slugs and snails) when rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys.

Foxes can also become infected with the lungworm, and have been implicated in the spread of the parasite across the country.

The signs of lungworm

Dogs of all ages and breeds can become infected with lungworm. However, younger dogs seem to be more prone to picking up the parasite. Dogs known to eat slugs and snails should also be considered high risk.

Lungworm infections can result in a number of different signs which may easily be confused with other illnesses. If your dog is displaying any of the signs below, consult your veterinary surgeon immediately.

There are some dogs which don’t initially show outward signs of lungworm infection. If you are concerned your veterinary surgeon can perform tests which may help detect if your dog is infected with the lungworm parasite.


Breathing Problems
  • Coughing
  • Tiring Easily


Poor Blood Clotting
  • Excessive bleeding from minor cuts
  • Nose bleeds
  • Bleeding into the eye


General Sickness
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea


Behaviour Changes
  • Depression
  • Tiring easily
  • Seizures (fits)

Prevention is the key !

Using ADVOCATE spot on monthly is the only licensed medication to PREVENT lungworm.

(In order to receive Advocate your dog must be seen regularly at our practice. If your dog is healthy and you require advocate we may ask you to make an appointment for a free flea check as Advocate is a prescription only medicine).

Advocate Kills and Prevents

A) Fleas and flea larvae

B) Worms (excluding tapeworms)

C) Mites (scabies is transmitted by foxes)

Our recommendation is that you use Advocate monthly for the prevention of fleas, lungworm and most other worms and additionally use a tablet to treat tapeworms (Milpro tablets) every 3 months to prevent tapeworms (tapeworms are present in fox feces, mice and hares/rabbits which too can be dangerous to humans and dogs/cats).



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