Vets warn thousands of dogs are at risk from a deadly parasite after lungworm hotspots have been revealed across south east London.
Nearly 200 cases of lungworm have been reported in Greenwich, Bromley and Bexley – with a total of 1,719 cases within a 50-mile radius of Greenwich.
Dogs can contract the potentially fatal disease by eating slugs and snails as their slime often contains the parasite.
They can even get infected by eating grass, picking up toys and drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls.
The map, created by My Pet & I, reveals there have been at least 70 cases in Bromley and 30 cases near Greenwich Park alone.
There have also been 29 reported cases in Bexley and 17 in Lewisham.
A spokesperson for My Pet & I said: “Lungworm could be the biggest threat to your dog’s health you may have never heard of.
“Different to intestinal worms, such as the tapeworm and roundworm, adult lungworm live in the heart and blood vessels of the lungs of dogs, which can be life threatening if left untreated.
“Once rare in the UK, lungworm has spread to new areas, putting dogs of all breeds and ages at risk.”
Symptoms to look out for include breathing difficulties, low energy levels, vomiting or weeing blood, lethargy and general sickness or diarrhoea.
If you spot these signs, take your dog to the vet immediately as quick treatment could save their life.
In many cases, lungworm treatment will lead to a full recovery.
However, prevention is easier than treatment so make sure you keep a close eye on your pets when they’re in the garden or out on walks and consult with your vets so that your dogs are up to date with all of the treatments and medications they need.
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