Vet issues urgent warning about parasite dogs can pick up from balls

I’m a vet and dogs can contract a deadly parasite this summer by playing with tennis balls or eating grass – here’s the warning signs to look out for

A vet has warned pet owners of a deadly parasite that dogs can contract by playing with tennis balls or eating grass.

Dr Scott Miller, 47, joined Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary on This Morning to offer advice to dog owners on how they can keep their pooches safe this summer.

The Australian vet listed some dangers that your dog might face in the upcoming months and how they can be avoided.   

He started off warning about the dangers of Lungworm, which is a parasite that can infect pets.

Unlike other intestinal worms such as tapeworm and roundworm, lungworm travels around a dog’s body and can cause fatal damage to their lungs and other major organs.

Scott said: ‘Lungworm is spread with an intermediate host of slugs and snails, and during the summer months it increases because the amount of slugs and snails increase. 

‘Now they don’t even have to eat them, although puppies eat them all the time, but even if they slither over a ball they have outside or even a blade of grass that they swallow, this parasite gets into their system.

‘Once swallowed it goes into the gastrointestinal tract, into the bloodstream, then goes around, pops out into the lungs, then goes around gets swallowed and goes into the poo again and during that life cycle of course there is a lot of damage done, particular to the lungs.’

The expert said there is a key warning sign that pet owners should look out for. 

He added: ‘What we see with dogs is then they start coughing, but you can imagine they have an adult worm that’s breaking its way out like an alien, it can cause a huge amount of damage. ‘

The vet went onto speak about the preventative measures dog owners can take to protect their pooches. 

He said: ‘There is monthly chewable tablets or weekly liquid between the shoulder blades. 

Scott added: ‘There are some treatments but it’s far more complicated than  prevention so getting those chewable tablets in monthly is the way to go.’ 

Dr Scott Miller, 47, joined Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary on This Morning offer advice on how to keep your pooch safe

The Australian vet listed some dangers that your dog might face in the summer months how can they be avoided

Signs your dog is suffering from lungworm: 


Breathing problems

Reluctance to exercise

Haemorrhage due to problems clotting

Source: Cockburn Vets 


What’s more, Dr Scott spoke about the reaction dogs get with bee and wasp stings and what to do if they get one.

He said: ‘You really want to try and flick the poison sacks because if you try to grab to pull it out you are actually squeezing the poison into your dog further.

‘Cold compresses are the way to go and an old wives tale that works actually is Bicarbonate soda for bees and vinegar for wasps.’

Dr Scott went on to issue a warning about green algae in water saying it’s ‘toxic’ for both humans and dogs. 

‘It looks like pea soup but actually it’s produced by a bacteria called cyanobacteria and it’s incredibly toxic.

‘Some people allow their dogs to swim in it and they die every year, these dogs ingest some of it while swimming, it can have a major impact of their liver, they can have seizures and they can die.

‘If you see something that looks anything like that not only should you not let your dogs go near it but your kids shouldn’t go near it either because it is toxic to humans as well.’

He also explained how there is no antidote to cyanobacteria but vets just monitor the dogs with a liver treatment and ‘hope for the best.’

The expert issued a warning about water safety for dogs this summer as many pooches might not be able to doggie paddle. 


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