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Fox Lungworm

Fox lungworm (Crenosoma vulpis) is considered endemic in fox populations of the Northeastern United States and the Maritime provinces. In Canadian dogs, fox lungworm infection has been reported in ON, PQ, NB, NS, PEI, NL.

Lungworm is an important cause of chronic respiratory disease in dogs. Recent research, performed by Dr. Gary Conboy of the Atlantic Veterinary College, provides new information and treatment options. His study revealed that in Atlantic Canada, 21 percent of the dogs with signs of chronic respiratory disease were found to be infected with C. vulpis.

How does fox lungworm affect a dog?

  • Disease in dogs is usually related to the respiratory system, and symptoms can include coughing, difficulty breathing, discharge from the nose and retching.
  • C. vulpis infections are rarely fatal in dogs.
  • We diagnose dogs with lungworm every year in this area of Nova Scotia.

Lungworm is readily treated with a single dose of prescription deworming medications. Advantage Multi (imidacloprid and moxidectin topical solution) is a labelled treatment. However, the off-label use of other medications such as Interceptor (milbemycin oxime) and Panacur (fenbendazole) is just as effective.

How do dogs become infected?

  • Adult lungworms live in the trachea, bronchi and bronchioles of dogs and wild canids. Adult males are 3.5 to 8 mm long, and the females are 12 to 16 mm long.
  • Females produce eggs that hatch into larvae (young lungworm), as they are coughed up and then swallowed. The larvae pass through the digestive tract and are released into the environment, through the animal’s feces.
  • Lungworm larvae can infect snails and slugs.
  • Dogs are infected when they eat slugs, or snails containing the lungworm larvae.
  • Inside the dog, the lungworm larvae penetrate the stomach wall and migrate to the liver and the lungs, via the circulatory system. The lungworm larvae mature into adults within the dog’s airways.

Can fox lungworm affect a human?

  • C. vulpis is not considered a disease risk to people.

Written by Dr. Alex Hare, DVM

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The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

Pets can get lost which can be a traumatic and possibly tragic event.  It’s important to have a collar and ID tag, but these are not foolproof.  Collars can break or fall off leaving your pet unidentifiable. This can be prevented with the use of a microchip. As noted in the Dartmouth Tribune in April 2017: A pet is lost every seven seconds One in three pets will go missing in their lifetime Only 2 percent of lost cats and 17 percent of lost dogs with ID return home When a pet gets lost, they are 20 times more likely to make their way back home when they have a microchip A microchip is a small chip that is encoded with a unique identification number.  It is no bigger than a grain of rice and implanted just under the surface of your pet’s skin.  The process is similar to receiving a vaccination through a needle and is virtually painless to pets.  Once implanted, the microchip remains between the shoulder blades just beneath the skin for the rest of the animal’s lifetime, becoming a permanent form of identification. Since it’s under your pets’ skin it can’t break or fall off like a collar or tag. The chip is powered by a scanner which sends a signal to the chip and receives the identification number stored on it.  A vet or shelter can use the scanner to read your pet’s chip.  With the identification number, your pet’s information is a phone call away. When your pet is microchipped, it is linked to a database with your contact info.  It is essential that you register the microchip and ensure your contact information is kept up to date.  If you move or change phone numbers be sure to update your information.  Microchips are reliable and use nationwide registries, but they depend on the information you provide. If you want to improve your chances of getting your pet back home quickly and safely microchipping is highly recommended.   Written by Tracy LeFler, Site Coordinator Edited by Janis Wall, RVT

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Last updated: September 15, 2021

Dear Clients,

The health and safety of both you and our staff is our top priority. We appreciate your help in keeping our community safe by following our COVID-19 policies:

  • Masks are required for all clients entering our hospital, as well as for all our staff
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    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - Your dedicated team at Westwood Hills Veterinary Hospital