Dan and Hudson
New Elanco Survey Data For National Pet Month
21st April, 2023 10h00
Survey data1 for National Pet Month shows dog owners don’t know the risks of lungworm, a potentially fatal parasite spreading across the UK
A national survey1 of UK dog owners and veterinary surgeons shows the worrying trend that many UK dog owners can’t spot the risks of lungworm – a parasite that can cause severe illness and even death if left untreated. The survey, which was shared by animal health company Elanco as part of April’s National Pet Month, also highlights that 87% of vets in the UK have now seen a local case of lungworm.
The UK-wide survey sought opinions from 500 pet owners and 100 veterinary surgeons in March 2023. The results show that:
- Only 25% of pet owners worry about lungworm in their area in contrast with 50% of vets, who note this as a particular local concern.
- Only one in three dog owners are aware that lungworm can be potentially found across the UK, a startling fact given the rise in staycations and people travelling across the UK with their pets.
Lungworm is spreading
The survey highlights that although a third of veterinary surgeons have seen at least one lungworm related death in dogs in the last five years, 77% of pet owners don’t know if their dog is protected against this potentially fatal parasite.
Lungworm used to be found only in certain ‘hotspots’ in the UK, mainly in the South of England and Wales. However, study data shows that lungworm is spreading throughout much of the UK, and it is now also endemic in Central England, with an increasing number of cases being reported in Northern England and Scotland too.2 Regional case numbers can be checked at www.lungworm.co.uk, and these continue to rise, despite it being preventable with treatment.
Identifying the signs
For Daniel Makin, a Veterinary Surgeon and dog owner living in Dorset, an unsettled night on the hottest day of the year and shallow breathing was the first sign that anything was amiss with six-year-old Hudson, his Bracco Italiano. The next day Hudson’s respiratory problems continued, and he became cyanotic, resulting in referral to a specialist veterinary clinic.
Hudson has an underlying condition which requires immunosuppressive therapy, meaning that despite receiving a monthly worming preventative product, investigations revealed that he had lungworm.
“It really opened my eyes up to the impact of lungworm, as it made Hudson so poorly,” said Dan. “Parasiticides are not often thought of as a medicine – but they can prevent diseases and uncomfortable situations for both pets and owners, for example with flea infestations. We need to cast our net of suspicion wider, to make sure we are identifying cases of lungworm in a timely manner and making sure dogs recover.”
Hudson has made a full recovery after a number of weeks of treatment for lungworm and is building back up his strength. Dan highlights that as Veterinary Surgeons, it is important to do everything we can to protect against preventable diseases like lungworm, and make sure we discuss with owners about prescribing appropriate parasite cover based on pet lifestyles. “Knowing what I know now, I would want Hudson to use a treatment that provides 100% lungworm prevention”*.
Survey data1 shows 99% of vets in the UK report being asked by pet owners about lungworm, however only 35% of pet owners state that they have spoken to someone at their veterinary practice about the parasite. Almost 80% of dog owners are unaware that worming treatment should be given monthly, to make sure their pets are protected against lungworm.
There are three simple things you can do to make sure your client’s dogs are protected:
- Ask – do the pets I treat have appropriate parasite cover for their lifestyle, including lungworm?
- Act – visit MyElanco to find out more, or speak to your Elanco Territory Business Manager
- Advocate – Educate your clients on lungworm and offer 100% lungworm prevention*
For more information about how to ACT against lungworm speak to your Elanco Territory Business Manager and visit: https://www.myelanco.co.uk/brand/lungworm
*Advocate provides 100% lungworm prevention3
- Elanco Animal Health. Lungworm market research 2023.
- Taylor C.S. et al. Parasitology. (2015), 142(9):1190-5.
- Schnyder M. et al. Vet Parasitol. (2009), 166(3-4):326-332.
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