French Heartworm is the common name for a parasitic disease affecting
foxes, dogs. Caused by the worm nematode Angiostrongylus vasorum, this
disease has existed in France since the mid 1800's. Generally found in
Europe but has also been found in the Island of Newfoundland and Cornwall
The stages of development are from an egg through a number of larvae and
finally to the adult. To complete the lifecycle, the worm must live in two
One host could be the dog, and the second is a slug. These hosts are
called either the final host, if they contain the adult or egg-laying part
of the worm’s cycle, or the intermediate host, if they contain the immature
(larval) stages of the worm.
To become infected, the dog eats a slug. The worm is released from the
slug during the digestion process and penetrates the wall of the dogs
stomach or intestine. Then they migrate to the right side of the heart,
arriving within approximately 10 days. In the heart the worm becomes an
adult and the female starts to shed eggs. The blood vessels transport these
eggs to the lungs where they hatch. The dog coughs up the hatched immature
larvae which are then swallowed.
If Angiostrongylus is identified early in the course of the infection
anti-parasitic drugs can be used to treat it effectively. If complications
have already occurred then treatment is less likely to be successful.
Treat regular with an appropriate wormer....