A deadly parasite has claimed the life of a French Bulldog puppy from Rugby, after complications arose during a routine operation.
The parasite, lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum), can cause issues with blood clotting, which meant that the young puppy named Minnie was unable to stop bleeding after the operation. Despite the best efforts of her veterinary team, Minnie passed away.
As the parasite is hidden inside the heart and lungs where it may cause no symptoms initially, it can be difficult to spot.
Minnie’s owner, Sian Reekie, said: “I had never heard of lungworm before Minnie’s tragedy.
"We now know that it is often called a silent killer, this couldn’t be truer.
"Before her operation, Minnie was well and her usual cheeky self, little did we know that lungworm was secretly killing her inside.”
Sian continued: “To say we are devastated to lose Minnie is an understatement. We weren’t prepared for what happened to Minnie, we hope her story will help raise awareness of the parasite, as it is in the Rugby area and dog owners need to speak to their vets about how to prevent it.”
Donna Tomlinson, senior brand manager from Bayer, said: “Minnie’s story is heartbreaking; lungworm is a serious threat to dogs and unfortunately fatalities resulting from this parasite have been reported in many areas of the country. Lungworm is now present across much of the UK and Ireland.
"The spread of this parasite into areas where it was not traditionally found means that it’s so important that we continue to raise awareness of this growing threat, and encourage dog owners to speak to their vets about a suitable lungworm prevention product every month as part of their pet’s healthcare routine.”
Slugs and snails carry the lungworm larvae and dogs can become infected when they accidentally or deliberately ingest these common garden pests whilst rummaging through fields and undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls or possibly even after swallowing their slime.