IN THE NEWS: On JUL 6, 2017
HEARTBROKEN dog owners are revealing their tragic stories in a tear-jerking campaign to fight the scourge of a killer pet disease.
One sobbing owner tells how her cherished cocker spaniel’s eyes began to fill with blood before succumbing to deadly lungworm.
More than 100 cases of the fatal parasitic disease spread by snails and worms have been diagnosed over the past few months, sparking calls for owners to treat their dogs before they are infected.
Lungworm is preventable with monthly treatment.
For untreated animals, the risk is catching a deplorable disease with symptoms that can manifest themselves only when it is too late to provide a cure.
Natasha Ravenscroft has shared her story for a hard-hitting advert so that her beloved one year old cocker spaniel Baxter “didn’t die in vain”.
Ms Ravenscroft, from Greater Manchester, tells the camera how Baxter was too poorly to save when the life-threatening symptoms took grip.
She said: “I first noticed Baxter was unwell when he collapsed out of the blue… All of a sudden his legs went from underneath him.
“His eyes started to swell up with blood. It was shocking – even the vet had not witnessed these conditions in a dog before. I was devastated.”
Other dog owners joined Ms Ravenscroft in the 30-second black and white footage to highlight how the disease is so cruel.
One woman said: “One long howl… and then died."
While another adds: “I wouldn’t even think they could catch something that could kill them.”
Dr Simon Hayes from Village Vet explains on the film why he is so committed to tackling lungworm.
He said: “When you have seen an animal nearly die in front of you with the owner in the room, you never want to see that again.
"Their dog may pass away through something that is completely preventable.”
The advert has been produced by Bayer, the pharmaceutical giant behind the Act Against Lungworm campaign which is compiling a regularly updated interactive map charting how lungworm is spreading.
There have been at least nine fatalities from the 100-plus cases of lungworm reported in recent weeks.
One of the victims was an 11-week-old puppy.
Lungworm larvae are passed on to dogs by snails and slugs and can cause a host of symptoms such as breathing problems, poor blood clotting and general sickness. It can be fatal if a pet is not diagnosed and treated.
Since the first case of the parasite – known as Angiostrongylus vasorum – was detected in 1975, the disease has spread across the country and is now considered endemic.
Donna Tomlinson, senior product manager at Bayer says its awareness campaign is encouraging owners to speak to vets and ensure pets are protected against the parasite.
She said: “We invited dog owners from various regions of the UK who have experienced lungworm to tell their story, with powerful results.
“These stories will be used as a warning to highlight to all dog owners that there is a real chance lungworm could be present in their area, and to speak to their local vet about effective preventative treatment.”