Speedy snails spread lungworm to dogs

The increase in snail numbers is causing the spread of a lungworm parasite that is deadly for dogs.

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Snails are renowned for being the enemy of the avid gardener, but now they could be causing issues for dog owners too. A study has highlighted that some snails carry a parasite that is deadly to dogs.

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This species of lungworm, Angiostrongylus vasorum, effects the heart and pulmonary circulation in dogs and foxes, and can be fatal.

The disease is becoming increasingly common in the UK after a succession of wet summers have provided excellent breeding conditions for snails. The Royal Horticultural Society reported a 50 per cent jump in the number of snails last year.

Vets are warning dog owners to be wary when letting their pets roam around the garden unsupervised, as dogs may come into contact with slugs and snails carrying the parasite.

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Research conducted by the University of Exeter has recently performed a study on snails to discover the scale of the threat. They found that although famous for being slow-moving, snails and slugs can travel at speed of up to one metre per hour, meaning they can explore the length of an average British garden in one night.