Dog owners are being warned about a potentially fatal parasite being reported in and around Brighton.

Lungworm cases have been recorded across East and West Sussex with areas around Brighton and Worthing among the hotspots.

Pets can pick up the parasite lavae when eating or playing with infected slugs and snails, and can require immediate veterinary assistance if they become infected.

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The Argus: Lungworm larvae is carried by slugs and snails. Picture: PALungworm larvae is carried by slugs and snails. Picture: PA

A new interactive map, produced by Elanco, shows where lungworm has been reported across the UK.

There were more than 1304 reported cases of Lungworm within a 50-mile radius of Brighton.

You can view the map and look up your postcode here.

What is lungworm?

The map has been created due to the seriousness lungworm can present if not treated in a timely manner.

Officially known as Angiostrongylus vasorum, the parasite can cause severe illness among dogs, eventually leading to death if not caught in time.

The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) has said that despite its name, the parasite travels around the whole body and cause breathing difficulties, heart failure, seizures and bleeding disorders.

The Argus: A woman walking her dog. Credit: CanvaA woman walking her dog. Credit: Canva

What are the symptoms of lungworm?

The PDSA has release a list of symptoms that dog owners should look out for if they think that their dogs has come into contact with or eaten a slug or snail.

These symptoms can apparently be difficult to spot because they are often very vague and varied, but the common symptoms are said to the following:

  • Coughing
  • Breathing problems (fast, heavy, noisy)
  • Weight loss
  • Unexplained bruising and bleeding
  • Seizures
  • Collapse and shock
  • Blindness

What should you do?

Vets across the country say that dog owners should contact their local practice immediately if their dog shows any lungworm symptoms.

Treatment for lungworm depends on the severity of the infection and what symptoms your dog might be experiencing, the PDSA said.

It also said that vets will tend to kill the lungworm at the first opportunity and certain cases may require hospitalisation.

The PSDA added: "Mild lungworm infections often only require lungworm treatment and medication to go home with, but if your dog is seriously ill, they may need intensive care in the veterinary hospital."

How can I protect my dog from lungworm?

You can take steps to prevent lungworm with a range of de-worming products, which include protection against the parasite, according to the PDSA.

It goes on to say that dog owners should purchase de-worming treatment that are a veterinary licenced product as they offer more effective ingredients.