Ted loves to roll in the smelliest stuff on the planet. Elephant vomit? Oh yes please, I’ll roll in that. Raccoon Pooh? Oh, I’ll have double of that please. Ted, like most dogs, has a taste for weird things, horse pooh, rotten stuff, the smellier the better and last year, it was rotten snail slime, preferably wet dead snail still in the shell. He or rather I, paid the price for that tasty treat. He treated me to his upset stomach that lasted for more than a day. But, I was lucky it was just an upset stomach with the most foul stuff coming out of him. Even he wanted to turn the other way!
I’ve just learned recently of a scary thing lurking in those slimy snails, Lungworm. Lungworm is a parasite that can infect dogs after they eat garden slugs and snails and or their slime. A tasty but very dangerous tidbit. Once inside, the larva of the parasite travels upwards through the dog’s system ending up in the heart. It can be fatal. It’s proper name is Angiostrongylus vasorum.
Last year my gardener told me a little tip– put out the snail bait in February when the snails (in the Seattle area) were starting to breed. I did as suggested, but with a raised eyebrow. Ahem…nothing is breeding in that cold and wet or so I thought, but sure enough the garden that summer had a massive reduction in snails and slugs. I don’t like putting out things in the garden when I have Ted lying about on the hunt, but the bait I used was labelled pet friendly. I did hand pick as many snails as I could and closed my eyes before squashing slugs underfoot. What stomach turning stuff! But, what do you do with the slime? I have no idea.
Apparently, Lungworm causes coughing and the dog tires easily. There can be poor blood clotting, general sickness, diarrhea, and a lack of appetite. He’s not a happy puppy at this point.
What to do? Hand pick clean the garden, squash those slugs, avoid putting out any water dishes, bring in the chew toys and balls, and then ask your vet about parasite control. I’ve got to ring mine up and see whether Lungworm is a problem in my area and what to do if so.
If you need more information other than–“No! Don’t eat that snail!” go to Lungworm.co.uk where there is a wealth of information.
In the meanwhile…”Ted! Drop it!”