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Fast Moving Snails Spread Deadly Dog Disease Across UK

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posted on Aug, 26 2013 @ 11:13 AM
Hi there peeps... Just wanted to spread some awareness..!

Not entirely sure if this is in the right forum. Apologies to Mods if not...

I am sure many UK dog owners and others alike are aware of a deadly disease that is spread by slugs and snails. Due to the wet summer's we have had in the UK over the last few years, the snail and slug population has increased by 50% according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

Despite their lethargic reputations, snails can travel at a relatively speedy one metre per hour, say researchers.

By attaching multicoloured LED lights, the scientists were able to track their movements over a 24-hour period.

The gastropods were fast enough to explore the length of an average UK garden in a single night.

But scientists are worried that the fast-moving snails are spreading a parasite that is deadly for dogs.

Researchers at the University of Exeter were commissioned to look into the scale of the threat by the Be Lungworm Aware campaign, which was set up and funded by Bayer Animal Health.

The scientists attempted to track the movements of snails in garden situations.

To do this they attached tiny, multicoloured LED lights to the backs of about 450 snails and used UV paint to track their movements.

The researchers found that the snails could cover distances up to 25m in a 24-hour period.

We have had a major problems with snails this year. They have eaten two thirds of our veg and a good lot of plants...
But more worryingly this is not what I am bothered about. The number of cases of dogs infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum is rising and also spreading. Cases have now been reported beyond traditional areas such as Southern England and Wales. Now in Midlands, Northern England, Scotland and Ireland...

Pic of the little bugger... (Angiostrongylus vasorum - Lungworm)

The parasite itself (lungworm) resides in the heart and pulmonary arteries of the host (dog/fox). The parasites are probably picked up from accidental ingestion of a snail, or intentionally eaten. (some dogs do eat weird things). The symptoms can be varied, but can include, coughing, tiring easily, weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive bleeding from minor wounds and seizures. A dog may show one or any combination of these symptoms. If you are concerned please take your dog to the vet...!

If treatment is implemented early most dogs will go on to make a full recovery. However if left untreated it could be fatal.. It should also be noted that even after a treatment that is successful re-infection is possible - so keep an eye on your four legged friends...!

Another reason I wanted to put this thread up is because my partner and I had an idea of attaching LED lights to snails and painting them with glow in the dark paint so we could see them at night. But it seems they have already done it..! Here's a little vid too. Looks very cool..!

Info on Symptoms/Treatment etc : ~

More info on Angiostrongylus vasorum : ~

So please remember peeps to check your garden, dog toys, feed/water bowls etc for any slimy snails lurking around. And make sure your dog does not eat them...!



posted on Aug, 26 2013 @ 12:18 PM
Snails are harbors for a number of diseases that affect humans. Schistosomiasis and bilharzia are two of them.

Hear is an interesting snail/parasite life cycle:

Leucochloridium variae, common name brown-banded broodsac, is a species of a parasite that invades snails and makes their eye stalks swollen, pulsating and colourful. This maggot-resembling feature attracts birds. The bird rips off the eye stalk and eats it and later on the parasite's egg is dropped with the bird's feces. Similar life-histories are found in most species in the genus Leucochloridium including Leucochloridium paradoxum. The snail regenerates a replacement eye stalk, which also becomes infected by the parasite.


Here is another involving snails, ZOMBIE ants and grazing animals:

Dicrocoelium dendriticum spends its adult life inside the liver of its host. After mating, the eggs are excreted in the feces. The first intermediate host, the terrestrial snail (Cochlicopa lubrica in the United States), consumes the feces, and becomes infected by the larval parasites. The larvae (or miracidium) drill through the wall of the gut and settle in its digestive tract, where they develop into a juvenile stage. The snail attempts to defend itself by walling the parasites off in cysts, which it then excretes and leaves behind in the grass or substrate. The second intermediate host, an ant (Formica fusca in the United States), uses the trail of snail slime as a source of moisture. The ant then swallows a cyst loaded with hundreds of juvenile lancet flukes. The parasites enter the gut and then drift through its body. Most of the cercariae encyst in the haemocoel of the ant and mature into metacercariae, but one moves to the sub-esophageal ganglion (a cluster of nerve cells underneath the esophagus). There, the fluke takes control of the ant's actions by manipulating these nerves. As evening approaches and the air cools, the infected ant is drawn away from other members of the colony and upward to the top of a blade of grass. Once there, it clamps its mandibles onto the top of the blade and stays there until dawn. Afterward, it goes back to its normal activity at the ant colony. If the host ant were to be subjected to the heat of the direct sun, it would die along with the parasite. Night after night, the ant goes back to the top of a blade of grass until a grazing animal comes along and eats the blade, ingesting the ant along with it, thus putting lancet flukes back inside their host. They live out their adult lives inside the animal, reproducing so that the cycle begins again. Infected ants may contain 100 metacercariae, and a high percentage of ants may be infected. Typical infections in cattle may be in the tens of thousands of adult worms.


posted on Aug, 26 2013 @ 02:23 PM
reply to post by butcherguy

Thanks for your reply...

Zombie Ants..! Yes I remember reading about that..! Some sort of fungi in the Brazilian Jungle takes over them. Creepy stuff...

I know that snails carry diseases that affect humans too. Which why I never pick one up unless using a trowel or gloves. I just thought it was an important topic. As I have 2 dogs of my own and they are my best friends..!

posted on Aug, 26 2013 @ 09:24 PM

I had no ideas snails/slugs carried disease

Do have to pick them up or ingest them...or is the slime dangerous too....sorry I haven't read all the source material yet.

posted on Aug, 26 2013 @ 11:59 PM
Ahhh!! I believe there has been a series of unexplained dog deaths in the USA this summer as well.
I wonder if this is the cause

posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 06:16 AM
reply to post by DontTreadOnMe

Lol..! No need to be sorry...

Well they are not entirely sure how the dogs contract it. But they are assuming that the dogs ingest the snails. For example younger dogs as they are curious and playful. Maybe older dogs like the taste..? Ew.

For humans, as previous poster butcherguy talked about Schistosomiasis..

Schistosomiasis is a collective name of parasitic diseases caused by several species of trematodes belonging to the genus Schistosoma. Snails serve as the intermediary agent between mammalian hosts. Individuals within developing countries who cannot afford proper water and sanitation facilities are often exposed to contaminated water containing the infected snails.

It affects children more than adults as the children play in the water and go swimming and the parasitic larvae enter through the skin easily and further mature in organ tissues... But this disease is most commonly found in Asia, Africa, and South America, especially in areas where the water contains numerous freshwater snails, which may carry the parasite.

Seemingly lungworm does not affect human health. Although I do not think I would take that chance..! I do like snails but I wonder what they are carrying sometimes...


posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 06:22 AM
reply to post by PtolemyII

Oh no..! We had some unexplained dog deaths here in the UK in the late spring..

Forest organisations are treating the incidents of dogs falling ill and dying after walking in areas of the New Forest very seriously.

Following many tests and on-site investigations, it is still not known what is responsible for the acute kidney failure that resulted in several dogs dying after they were walked in the Ogdens (Fordingbridge) area of the New Forest in March.

Local vets, specialist laboratories, New Forest District Council, the Forestry Commission, Environment Agency and Animal Health Trust have been working together to try and find the cause of the illness. New Forest District Council and the Forestry Commission have also provided financial assistance to help with the on-going investigation.

Many tests have been carried out but have not resulted in an identified cause - the reality is that it may never be known.

Maybe it was the snails..? Although if it was I am sure the veterinary practices and laboratories would have found evidence of lungworm..?

Where were the dog deaths in the US.. Was it this one..?

Dog deaths in Cincinnati: Pet Spot says tests have not determined cause of violent illness

NORWOOD, Ohio – Operators of the doggie daycare connected to three dog deaths say tests have not determined what caused the violent illness that killed them and they plan to keep that part of their facility closed until Monday, Aug. 26.

The Pet Spot in Norwood posted this message on its Facebook page Monday night:

"All of the veterinarian infectious disease tests have come back negative.

"Independent laboratory test results looking for the usual causes of gastro intestinal issues have come back negative.

"We have had our food and water tested and the results came back clean, showing no issues.

"None of the food consumed was on the pet food recall list.

"In addition to our usual multi daily sanitation, the facility has been completely sanitized numerous times and our daycare floors have been stripped and resurfaced."

The Pet Spot temporarily shut down its doggie daycare Friday after four dogs it handled became ill, owner Jeff Voepel said in a Facebook post last week. At the time, he said he hoped to reopen the day care Tuesday.

RIP to them poor dogwogs...

posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 10:28 AM
reply to post by fluff007

Kids and puppies....they will eat or drink anything....don't know to be safe.
When our dog was the first two years...she was like a vaccuum cleaner outdoors....your really had to watch her...and any water just HAD to have been put there for her to drink.

So, contaminated water would be an easy source for the disease.

posted on Aug, 27 2013 @ 11:05 AM
thank you very much for the info.
I will pass this on to other dog owners.

I have a friend with a terrier dog
that likes to suck slugs and mice!!!
if he gets to them in time he can save the mice.

posted on Aug, 28 2013 @ 02:55 PM
i think there should be a snail cull lol. seriously this is them just finding this out? what have biologists, scientists and wild life experts been up to all these days?

posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 12:40 PM
reply to post by buddha

No problem..

Yuk..!! How they can eat snails and slugs is beyond me. They are gross. I tried snails when I was in France and they fried them in a butter garlic sauce. They tasted like really really really over cooked slimy mushrooms..

It is difficult to keep an eye on the dogs all the time though. They can be real sneaky...!

posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 12:42 PM
reply to post by theman1111


Well where I live this has been a terrible year for snails. I have never in my life seen so many...!!

And I am cross with them they decimated half of my veg crops
I did my own cull and must have picked up over a thousand or more snails and I lobbed them off the cliff and into the sea..

So next year we are going to get nematodes.. Which will hopefully get rid of the majority of them..7

I do not think this is them just finding this out. It is the fact that the disease is spreading and the number of cases are increasing at an alarming rate. I think more than anything they just want peeps to be informed and know the dangers that snails pose to dogs. I knew of lungworm ages ago having worked at kennels and veterinary practices. But it would amaze you the number of people who do not know that snails carry diseases..!

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