Despite a rise in owner awareness, 85% of UK dogs remain unprotected against lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum), according to results of a new survey from Bayer Animal Health.

As a result, the company is launching its 2014 “Act on Lungworm” campaign, which seeks to promote the action that is needed to prevent dogs from dying unnecessarily, in addition to raising awareness of the parasite. 

The research, which questioned 1,000 dog owners, found that 80% were aware of the parasite, with more than 5% having encountered lungworm in their own dogs. However, only 15% of owners treat their pet against parasites on a monthly basis, with the remainder admitting to missed routine lungworm worming treatments or not treating at all, revealing a strong need for owner action in addition to awareness.

This need is made even more important in light of evidence that the lungworm parasite has spread across Great Britain (Royal Veterinary College, 2012), and a further survey that suggests A.vasorum is now endemic throughout much of the UK (Opinion Matters, 2013), with one in five vet practices nationwide reporting at least one case of the parasite.

Bayer’s campaign, which launches in March, will feature “hard-hitting real life owner experiences” to encourage proactive preventative treatment, which the company has gathered through its social media platform on Facebook and Twitter, and via calls from owners wanting to discuss their experiences.

The campaign will also see the world’s first 24-hour radio station for dogs and their owners, ‘Hound Waves’, broadcasting live from Crufts on March 7. The event will also see the launch of a new television and advertising campaign from Bayer.  

For veterinary professionals, the campaign launch will also include online videos detailing the “Act on Lungworm” veterinary support and premiering the new television advertisement exclusively to vets before the national launch.

“ACT on Lungworm” is part of Bayer Animal Health’s wider “It’s a Jungle Out There” parasite protection initiative. Help spread the word, and read the experiences of other vets and owners at or by following ‘JungleForPets’ on Twitter.

Owners and veterinary professionals can also pledge to ACT on lungworm via the campaign’s Facebook page.

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