Dog owners are being warned about a deadly infection.

There have been 45 cases of lungworm reported across Dorset.

This number includes 16 in the greater Bournemouth area, two in Christchurch, three in Blandford and two in Poole.

Lungworm can be fatal to dogs - nine per cent of infected dogs will die - and it is spreading throughout the UK.

Company Bayer has set up a lungworm map monitoring cases and showing how much of a concern the disease is in any specific area around the country.

What is it?

Lungworm is a parasite that can cause serious health problems in your pet and can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated.

According to Vets4Pets, infected dogs and foxes spread the parasite into the environment via lungworm larvae released in their faeces. Slugs and snails then ingest the larvae while feeding. Other dogs and foxes can become infected with lungworm when they swallow these slugs/snails or potentially slime.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of the infection include: coughing, changes in breathing or struggling to breathe, going off food, upset stomach with vomiting and/or diarrhoea, weight loss, tiredness, unexplained or excessive bruising, pale gums and bleeding

How to prevent your dog catching lungworm

Regular worming treatments

Picking up your dog’s faeces quickly. This will help prevent the spread of lungworm

Removing toys and bowls from the garden overnight so they are not exposed to slugs and snails

Changing the water in water bowls frequently

Lungworm cannot be transmitted to humans.

More information can be found on the Vets4Pets website and you can check the map at