A new Instagram profile, @DangerousSnail25, is launching this week on the back of a growing trend for people to post photos of their pets online. The campaign will raise awareness of the dangers of lungworm – a parasite, carried by slugs and snails, that can be fatal for dogs if not prevented.
Social ‘petworking’ is becoming increasingly popular with new research revealing that almost a fifth of dog owners post weekly pictures of their pet, with a similar amount admitting to having a social media channel dedicated to their pup.
The hashtag #dogsofinstagram attracts over 750k posts each day – twice as many as #Brexit has EVER received. Young dog owners are the most active on social media with 80 per cent posting about their pets, and almost half of 18 – 34 year old have their own social media profile for their four-legged friend.
To capitalise on the trend, and with beautiful, macro-photography, @DangerousSnail25, a new campaign created by Bayer, highlights the potential dangers slugs and snails can pose to dogs.
Vet Luke Gamble, said “In @DangerousSnail25’s feed we wanted to show how easy it is for dogs to accidentally swallow slugs and snails when they play with toys, drink from puddles and water bowls left outside, or eat grass.
“Although over half of dog owners said their dogs do eat grass, only 11 per cent were aware of the potential risk that this could pose to their dogs, and only half were aware that lungworm could be caught through eating slugs or snails.”
Whilst 86 per cent of dog owners aged 55+ were aware of lungworm, those aged 18 – 34 year had the least awareness, with just 58 per cent understanding the threat of lungworm
Once inside the dog’s system, the parasite travels through the body eventually ending up in the heart. If the infection is left untreated, the dog’s health can rapidly deteriorate, and can even result in death.
Evidence from the Royal Veterinary College confirms that the lungworm parasite has spread across the UK from its traditional habitat in the south of England and Wales.
It’s now widespread in central England and has reached northern regions and Scotland, with one in five vet practices nationwide reporting at least one case of the parasite.
Luke adds, “Unlike other parasites, such as ticks and fleas, dogs may not initially show visible signs of a lungworm infection.
“We want to let dog owners know that preventative monthly-use products are available to stop the spread of lungworm.
“Not all worming products are effective against lungworm and monthly treatment is required for complete protection.
“Pet owners are advised to speak to their vet about preventative treatment against lungworm.”
Bayer is also working with celebrity explorer and dog-owner Ben Fogle to educate dog-owners on the hidden dangers in the nation’s gardens and favourite dog walks.
To help raise awareness of the parasite, dog owners and vets nationwide are supporting the national ‘Act Against Lungworm’ campaign.
Find out more information about lungworm by following @DangerousSnail25 on Instagram and check the risk in your area by searching your postcode at www.lungworm.co.uk/map