Mapped: Where parasite dangerous to dogs has been reported in Suffolk
- Credit: Archant
Dog owners across Suffolk have reported where their pooches have caught a potentially deadly parasite.
Lungworm, a type of parasitic worm which affects dogs and foxes, lives in the heart and major blood vessels supplying the lungs.
If left untreated, it can be fatal to dogs.
A total of 121 cases of lungworm have been reported within a 50-mile radius of Ipswich, with eight in Kentford in west Suffolk alone.
Other areas with a number of reported cases include Ipswich, Haverhill and Colchester over the border in Essex.
The data has been compiled by pet health company, My Pet & I, and comes as vets in the country warn of the dangers of the parasite amid rising rates of infection.
Dog health experts, The Kennel Club, said: "Lungworm is not passed directly from dog to dog but through eating infected slugs and snails or from the slime trail covering food and water bowls.
"The infection is then secreted in the dog's faeces, which is also a means of transmitting the infection.
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"After infection, lungworm can cause progressively worsening cardiac and respiratory disease, such as coughing, bleeding in the lungs, liver, intestines, eyes and spinal cord and elsewhere in the body."
Symptoms can include weight loss, breathing difficulties, coughing up blood, poor appetite and more.
A number of treatments are available from vets and once dogs are diagnosed and treated, most make a full recovery.
The Kennel Club added: "To help take preventative action, be extra vigilant when walking your dog to keep away from slugs and snails and make sure to pick up your dog's poo and dispose of it correctly."