LUNGWORM hotspots in Berkshire have been revealed after vets warn thousands of dogs are at risk from the deadly parasite.

Due to the damp weather across the county this month experts expect to see a dramatic rise in slug and snail activity.

This means dogs are at greater risk at being infected with the potentially fatal parasite whether that be on a walk, drinking from water bowls or puddles, or even in the garden.

A total of 1507 cases of lungworm have been reported within a 50-mile radius of Berkshire.

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The map shows nine cases were reported in Reading, nine in Wokingham and 11 in Bracknell Forest.

Royal Borough Observer:

Results published by Elanco Animal Health indicates that 42% of dog owners are not aware of what lungworm is or how it can infect dogs.

Dogs can be infected with the potentially fatal parasite by eating the common slugs and snails.

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They can also pick up lungworm while rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or picking it up from their toys.

The slime of slugs and snails can contain the infective lungworm parasite that can cause disease in dogs.

But vets are more concerned at the number of dogs that are not adequately protected.

The poll revealed that only 21 per cent of dog owners surveyed had given their dog a lungworm preventative treatment in the past month.

Dr Bryony Tolhurst, a behavioural ecologist at the University of Brighton, said: “The slime of slugs and snails can contain the infective lungworm parasite that can cause disease in dogs.

“With the unusually damp weather the UK has been experiencing this year, slugs and snails are more active, and lungworm larvae can survive for up to two weeks in their slime, potentially exposing dogs to the parasite.”

Vets are warning that the signs of lungworm are not always obvious, and puppies can be especially likely to eat slugs and snails, due to their inquisitive nature.

Check your area for lungworm hotspots here.