Keeping dogs out of vets since 2011

Lungworm in Dogs

lungworm life cycle diagram


Dr. Emily McAteer, Dublin Holistic Vet, emailed me an alert over the weekend regarding lungworm in dogs. I trust her opinion 100% when it comes to the prevalence of critters (she’s no scaremongerer) so thought I’d repost what she sent below, in case it helps some of you. I have added in some bits in (in brackets).

North Dublin seems to be experiencing an increased risk of lung worm in that there have been some confirmed cases. They are there if you look for them. My policy, since having seen and treated a case is to;

1) Be aware.

For more about lungworm awareness check out this nice short article on lungworm in dogs by Woodland Trust. In short, it seems to be increasing, nobody knows why though possibly related to the increase in urban foxes who are a vital link in the chain.

2) Seek veterinary attention if any unexplained symptoms are seen, which can be numerous and varied- ranging from a chesty cough, snotty nose and respiratory issues to lethargy and seizures. ESPECIALLY if the dog is inclined to eat slugs and snails.

Interestingly, Cavalier King Charles, Cocker and Springer Spaniels, and Staffordshire Bull and Jack Russell terriers seem to become iller, but nobody is sure why.

lungworm life cycle diagram
courtest of

3) Ensure your dog is in tip-top health: raw fed, not over-vaccinated, not over-treated for parasites.

4) If concerned and your dog eats snails there is a reliable antibody test which is designed for diagnosis but could be used for screening. I’m not sure how long the antibodies persist. ie if a dog has once been infected they may always have them, also its a yes / no test, not a titre. If the test is positive you could always do a 3 day pooled poo worm egg count also.

Adult lung worms can live in the heart for some time without the larvae migrating and when they do they can cause a lot of damage. You are not always going to see eggs in poo so the antibody test is more reliable. If antibodies exist then I think milbemax is your least harmful option of wormers. I have moved to it from my old favourite drontal if I have to worm.

The Equine Research Centre of Ireland will test your dogs for lungworm. They do this via a faecal test as, while the adults reside in respiratory passages, their eggs are coughed up, swallowed and passed out with the faeces. Normally the ERC charge only €14 to test for gut worms (an absolute steal, recommend for all dogs perhaps twice a year, as opposed to blindly ramming in nasty chemical parasite control in dogs with no infections, more about worms in dogs here) but for lungworm it is slightly more complicated, requiring three faecal samples. Contact the ERC for more info for this simple test. I recommend it for slug and snail eating dogs.

At this point, I would normally recommend something natural to help control risk but for lungworm, I know of nothing truly effective, yet. Herbs can reach stuff in the gut very easily but getting to the lungs effectively is another kettle of fish. If I hear of anything after posting this I will, of course, amend the article. Awareness, as Emily states, is the best course of action with this one.

DeNeem is a natural flea treatment for dogs and cats
A truly natural and highly effective bug killer for pets, killing mechanically rather than chemically. So safe you can eat it. Delivered worldwide for approximately $5

Share This Article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email


Need Advice?

1-to-1 Online Consultations

Should you need a little hand holding, I’m here to help. Consultations are typically 1 hour in length: 15 minutes to read your presubmitted questionnaire and prepare for your pet, 30-40 minutes with you directly via Zoom / Skype and 10-15 minutes to write your summary email, including all necessary tips and their diet plan. It also includes a follow up email should you need it.


"Finally! A well-written, well-referenced thorough examination of the raw dog food debate. A fantastic gift for your favourite veterinarian."
Dr. Karen Becker


For the most up-to-date advice, support, tips and ticks from Dr. Brady and his team, please subscribe below .

Related Articles

Torn ACL in Dogs
Dog Health

Torn ACL in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Cost

So what is the ACL, and where is a dog’s ACL? The ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is located in the centre of the knee (stifle) and is responsible for stabilising the hind leg when the dog is straightening, bending or rotating the leg.  In this article, we will be discussing: What is an ACL tear

Read More »
symptoms of bloat in dogs
Raw dog food

Bloat in Dogs: Causes and What to Look Out For

Bloat with torsion in dogs is a scary, painful, often life threatening and all too common occurrence in large, deep chested dogs . As the science is yet to pin a definite culprit, there is a lot of confusion. In this extensive review piece I present the most up to date thinking on the matter and make some important dietary recommendations for at-risk dog owners.

Read More »
Raw dog food

Everything About Raw

Everything You Need To Know Abut Raw Dog Food In Ten Minutes… Below is a short summary on ten key articles in raw feeding. Each article is linked out to the larger article should you fancy doing a little more research. What do dogs eat? What is raw dog food? The benefits of feeding raw

Read More »
How Much Raw Food Should I Feed My Dog
Raw dog food

How Much Raw Foods Should I Feed My Dog? Dog Food Calculator

Initially, moving to a raw diet for your dog can seem a little tricky. One of the most likely questions when shifting to raw dog food is how much should I feed my dog? The answer can be simple (2.5% of his body weight per day, if an adult) but thereafter the figure varies depending

Read More »
What causes yeast Infection In Dogs
Dog Health

Yeast Infection In Dogs: Causes, Treatments, Foods To Avoid

Extreme itchy and irritated skin with a foul odour can indicate a yeast infection. This is a very common problem in particularly dry-fed dogs today.  Yeast infections in dogs are highly uncomfortable and over time they can cause severe damage to the affected areas. Knowing how to treat yeast infections in dogs is thus a

Read More »
Raw dog food

A Fairly Thorough Review of Hemp, CBD and Ending With Advice for Pets

To understand where we are with CBD, why mothers have to walk the length of Ireland to get permission to use a herbal product that prevented epilepsy in her child suffering 300 back-breaking and life-endangering seizures a month, an entirely natural product that is supported massively by the science as beneficial in the treatment of

Read More »