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Tess Daly Launches Lungworm Awareness Campaign at Crufts

11 March 2016

UK - TV presenter Tess Daly returned to Crufts to raise awareness of the potentially fatal lungworm parasite, which poses a growing risk to dogs in the UK.

Following her previous involvement in the Be Lungworm Aware campaign, Tess and her current vet became increasingly convinced that her Golden Retriever, Sam, died of lungworm.

The life-threatening lungworm parasite (Angiostrongylus vasorum) is carried by slugs and snails and can even be found in their slime. If a dog accidentally swallows one of these common garden visitors, there is a risk it could become infected. Once the lungworm parasite is inside a dog's system, it causes symptoms such as breathing difficulties, chronic coughing, excessive bleeding, vomiting and, in some cases, death.

Tess said: "Back then I didn't even realise lungworm existed. It was only subsequently that I became aware of the parasite and symptoms and I thought, 'hang on this sounds horribly familiar'.

"It wasn't confirmed what was causing Sam's symptoms, but he was very tired, off his food and coughing a lot. Eventually we had to send him to a specialist vet centre as his symptoms worsened. They did all sorts of tests on him, and even a blood transfusion in an attempt to save his life, it was awful. We had to liquefy all his food and feed him through a syringe, and by this point he was vomiting and had severe diarrhoea, and in the end we had no choice but to put him down, he just couldn't carry on."

Tess attended this year's event in partnership with the Be Lungworm Aware campaign from Bayer Animal Health, which aims to encourage dog owners to talk to their vet about the real risk of lungworm in their area and to seek preventative treatment.

Tess continues: "We are a nation of dog lovers and I think the public will appreciate being made aware of lungworm and its dangers. Cases are on the rise in the UK so I want to help bring increased awareness to the Be Lungworm Aware campaign."

Evidence from the Royal Veterinary College confirms the lungworm parasite has spread across the UK, from its traditional habitat in the south of England and Wales, now being widespread in Central England and also reaching northern regions and Scotland, with one in five vet practices reporting at least one case of the parasite.1

Bayer Animal Health has launched an interactive lungworm map to assist with plotting the prevalence of the disease across the UK. This map is part of a wider research programme to better monitor and document the spread of the potentially fatal disease. Vets are continuing to report cases of lungworm in their practices to be added to the interactive map, helping them to see where dogs could be at risk.

Dog owners can view reported cases of lungworm in their area by searching their postcode at www.lungworm.co.uk and join in the conversation at www.facebook.com/jungleforpets

ThePetSite News Desk



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