Snails are spreading the lungworm parasite to dogs across the United Kingdom in the wake of several warm, wet summers. On Friday, researchers from the University of Exeter released a video report on the growing problem of a disease that may be killing more and more pet dogs.
Hit that button to see Dr. Dave Hodgson and his colleagues perform some amazing research. In the course of the so-called Slime Watch, the researchers followed the nocturnal wanderings of 450 snails using LED lights and UV paint to light up the garden pests for night filming.
You’ll stand amazed at how just fast snails can actually move when they think nobody’s looking. And they seem to have a talent for getting into everything in the garden, just like dogs.
The glowing snails may look comical on the video. But the tracking has a practical purpose.
According to the team, the footage proved that many snails can move around a meter an hour — enough for them to fan out and contaminate almost the entire yard. And there are multiple species of snails that carry the lungworm parasite which kills dogs.
So it’s a problem.
It doesn’t seem practical to remove every snail from your yard. And a lot of the snails will be hidden during the day anyway.
So the best defense against the disease seems to be awareness.
Lungworm parasite is treatable if caught in time. Dog owners need to watch out for early symptoms like coughing or wheezing that could be a lungworm infection.
Thanks to the surprisingly fast-moving snails, the problem has marched northward toward Scotland. The team’s Be Lungworm Aware website said that nearly 6.9 million UK dogs are at risk of infection from lungworm parasite carried by the snails.
[common snail species thumbnail by macrophile via Flickr, CC]