PET owners across the Portsmouth area are being warned of a potentially fatal disease after a family’s beloved dog contracted an illness and died.
The warning came from a veterinary practice and the owner of a dog, whose pet contracted lungworm and died.
Aimée Crockford’s husky, Breeze, caught the disease after ingesting water infected with lungworm, a type of worm which lives in the heart and blood vessels that supply the lungs.
Aimée became worried after noticing changes in her pet’s behaviour.
Breeze seemed tired and was not pulling on his lead while on walks. Horrifyingly, Aimée also said Breeze had coughed up blood.
The poorly pooch was taken to Sanctuary Vets, in Farlington, where test results indicated Breeze had contracted lungworm.
Despite efforts from vets, the eight-year-old pet was unable to beat the infection and died a few days later.
Aimée, who also has an Akita dog called Diego, has now spoken of the loss of her pet in a bid to raise awareness of the illness.
She said: ‘Breeze was the best pet. He loved going for family walks and would often be swimming in rivers or the sea.
‘He was a bit of scavenger, always looking to find bits to eat like grass and leaves, and I guess it was this habit that may have led to him eating something infected.
‘We miss him terribly and I would urge owners to keep a close eye on what their dogs are eating when outside and to treat them with preventative medicine for lungworm.’
Sanctuary Vets has since issued advice to pet owners on how to protect their dog from catching the illness..
Vet Claire True said: ‘Generally dogs contract lungworm after eating slugs or snails that carry the larvae.
‘However, they can also come into contact by eating grass or drinking from puddles where the larvae has spread to.
‘Sadly, it’s likely Breeze may have ingested the larvae when out on a walk and this would have developed in his lung area leading to the cough. Lungworm can go unnoticed for quite some time as the initial symptoms can be hidden.’
There are simple precautions that pet owners can take, one being that they must be aware of the threat that snails, slugs and frogs can pose, as they all carry the lungworm larvae.