Dogs are at increasing risk from a deadly parasite spread by urban foxes, experts say.
Cases of lungworm infection –an animal disease that causes breathing problems and internal bleeding – have doubled in recent years.
The disease arrived in the UK 30 years ago and is carried by foxes, slugs and snails.
Once inside the dog’s system, the parasite travels through the body to the heart. If left untreated, it can be fatal.
For many years lungworm was limited to southern England and South Wales. But in the past decade vets have reported cases across the UK. According to a study carried out for the veterinary medicines company Bayer, 37 per cent of vets confirmed a diagnosis in the past year – compared to 16 per cent in 2008.