By Helen Burns | Dated November 25, 2021 | 1 Comment
Beau the 4 year old greyhound was rehomed into his beautiful family 1 year ago this month. After spending his early life racing, he was looking forward to putting his […]
By Helen Burns | Dated August 4, 2017
Bailey is a delightful 12 week old Border Collie puppy who presented for a devastating disease we see occasionally in the area around Gordon Vet Hospital. Angiostrongylus cantonensis or “rat lung worm” is a parasite who’s normal host is the rat but it causes a devastating paralysis if it happens makes it’s way into other hosts such as puppies or even people.
This nasty parasite hitches a ride within slugs and snails that may be found in your back yard. Curious puppies that have a penchant for French cuisine can pick up the parasite from eating these slippery delights. From there the parasite makes it’s way up the spinal cord and can cause severe neurological issues.
Luckily for Bailey, there is symptomatic treatment to reduce the inflammation of the spinal cord. This involves anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics and has prevented the condition from being fatal in her case. While she is slowly improving, some dogs never regain full function of their back legs, tail or bladder as a result of this terrible disease.
Interestingly, we do not aim to kill the parasite as that causes more swelling of the spinal cord and potentially more damage.
It is important to remember that while we always strongly recommend stopping puppies from eating snails and slugs that many snail and slug baits are highly toxic to pets and should not be used in areas where pets have access. Often a beer trap or keeping puppies out of the backyard during the night hours can be helpful.