How to recognize and treat lungworms in dogs

Updated March 23, 2017

A dog that experiences lungworms has parasites in the respiratory tract. The infection typically occurs when a dog comes in contact with a lungworm host. This condition can be a serious hazard to your dog’s health and needs immediate care.

Evaluate your dog for signs of lungworms. Dogs that suffer from this condition may have a cough and experience loss of appetite. They may also appear lethargic and depressed.

Take your dog to the vet for an exam. Be prepared to supply a fecal sample for lungworm testing. You vet will also need to extract secretions from the respiratory system. It’s also wise to request a heartworm test to rule out this condition.

Design a treatment plan with your dog’s doctor. A dog infected with lungworms should be given a deworming medication. If you have any other pets in the home make sure to get them tested and treated.

Clean your dog’s area. When you bring your dog home from the vet make sure to clean his area. Wash all bedding regularly to prevent recurrence of the condition.

Monitor you dog closely while he is recovering. Some dogs have a reaction to deworming treatments. Contact the vet if your canine experiences diarrhoea, vomiting or any other behaviour that seems out of character.


Prevent recurrence of lungworm in your canine. Keep your canine leashed when possible. Make sure he doesn’t come in contact with wild animals that could be a host for lungworms. If your dog frequents dog parks or other high traffic areas make sure he’s on a preventive medication.


Make sure to administer medication correctly. Even if your dog starts to feel better make sure to administer medication as directed to ensure a full recovery.

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About the Author

Nicki Howell started her professional writing career in 2002, specializing in areas such as health, fitness and personal finance. She has been published at health care websites, such as HealthTree, and is a ghostwriter for a variety of small health care organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Portland State University.