Lungworms in Dogs

Lungworms are parasitic nematode worms that infest the lungs of vertebrates. It is an infection of the lower respiratory tract, usually resulting in bronchitis or pneumonia, which can be caused by any of several parasitic nematodes, including Angiostrongylus vasorum and Oslerus osleri in dogs. The parasite settles, infects and irritates the lungs and trachea causing respiratory problems. The lungworm will gradually damage the airways or lung tissue by inciting an inflammatory reaction inside the tissue. Ultimately, the parasites survives and reproduce in the respiratory tissues.

Dogs get lungworm by eating larvae found in infected snails, slugs or frogs. They can also accidentally eat infected tiny slugs if they are on a toy or their fur. Dogs that spend time in woods and/or fields, are at a higher risk of acquiring this condition.

Common symptoms of this condition include

Cough (usually persistent/chronic, dry/unproductive and hacking; can be severe)

Difficulty breathing (dyspnea; respiratory distress)

Wheezing sounds when breathing in (on inspiration); mild to severe


Panting (usually not pronounced except in advanced cases)

Exercise intolerance

Retching (may be productive; may bring up white or blood-tinged mucus)


Abdominal discomfort




Skin inflammation (dermatitis; rash; uncommon)

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