HOTSPOTS of dogs' deadly parasites have been revealed in Southampton.

A map released by pet company ‘My Pet and I’, reported 410 cases of lugworms within a 50-mile radius of Southampton.

Detailed in the map, nine cases have been identified in Southampton Common, and around four cases have been reported near Eastleigh and Chandler’s Ford.

Daily Echo: Map of cases found across SouthamptonMap of cases found across Southampton

What is lungworm?

According to the Kennel Club, lungworm is a type of parasitic worm which affects dogs and foxes, which are often blamed for spreading the disease.

Once dogs are infected, adult lungworms live in their heart and the major blood vessels which supply the lungs, where they can cause potentially serious problems.

How do dogs get infected?

Unlike many diseases, lungworms cannot be passed directly from dog to dog.

The worm needs slug and snail hosts in order to grow and develop and when dogs eat these, infection may occur.

Infected dogs will then pass larvae in their waste which in turn infects slugs and snails.

What are the effects of lungworms?

After infection, lungworm can lead to worsening signs of cardiac and respiratory disease such as coughing after long exercise; as well as causing bleeding in the lungs, liver, intestine, eyes, and spinal cord.

If it is left untreated, it can be fatal.

What to do if your dog is infected?

Fortunately, lungworm treatment tends to be widely available from vets and it is extremely easy to administer.

Once dogs get diagnosed and treated, most will make a full recovery. Like all diseases, the key to successful treatment is acting early.

Can this be prevented?

If you spot any slugs and snails in your garden or local park, be extra vigilant when you walk your dog.

Pick up and safely dispose of your dog’s faeces and consult your vet as soon as possible if your dog becomes unwell.

The RSPCA says people shouldn't leave any bowls or toys outside during the night and is advising against using any slug bait as most are highly toxic to the pets.

The map can be found here.

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