What You Need to Know About Lungworm

Lungworm is currently an emerging disease that is recently becoming an issue in Ontario. Lung worm is a term that is used to describe an infection of the respiratory tract that is caused by a parasite.

Crenosoma vulpis

In Ontario, at the present time, the lungworm crenosoma vulpis (the fox lungworm) is the only one that has currently been identified. This parasite is treatable and causes a less severe disease process. Fox lung worm is a parasite that has a life cycle that includes more than one species of animal. Its natural host is the red fox but because dogs are closely related to foxes they are also at risk of contracting the disease. Basically, dogs and foxes will eat snails and slugs (yuck) which are carrying the lungworm larvae – these larvae, in turn, infect the dog causing a chronic cough to occur.

Emerging Disease

Because this disease is relatively new to Ontario, it is now considered a possible concern when dealing with a dog with a persistent and chronic cough. The lifecycle chart below was provided by Bayer Animal Health and shows how this disease is spread.

If you have any questions regarding this parasite please call the clinic to discuss in more detail with your dog’s health care team.

The following link also directs you to the Worms and Germs website which has more informative information on lungworm and other parasites.

Written by Marie Hearn