Nationwide slug and snail count launches Bayer’s lungworm research initiative
In a bid to help inform its ‘Act On Lungworm’ campaign for the year ahead and collate valuable new data on the spread of the parasite, Bayer Animal Health is launching a nationwide ecological experiment, ‘The Big Snail Count’. The experiment is aimed at helping dog owners recognise the link between mollusc activity in their gardens and the risk of lungworm to their pet.
The campaign will encourage families across the UK to take part in a timed snail and slug count within their gardens and local parks, recording and submitting data on prevalence, location and activity to the ‘It’s A Jungle Out There’ Facebook page (www.facebook.com/jungleforpets). Further engagement will be encouraged via a competition asking participants to submit their pictures to the Facebook page, using the #bigsnailcount hashtag, prizes will be awarded under five unique categories.
The data collected will also form part of Bayer’s wider lungworm research programme in 2015, which hopes to create an overview of lungworm prevalence and spread in the UK to date.
With support from Dr Dave Hodgson, Senior Lecturer in Ecology at Exeter University, the ‘Big Snail Count’ aims to make dog owners more aware of the opportunities their pet has to interact with slugs and snails on a daily basis and in doing so, increase their vigilance for any signs of a lungworm infection.
Dr Hodgson said: “This is the first time ever a data collection on this scale has been conducted around slug and snail prevalence and we are very excited to discover any regional trends which may exist across the country. Building on the success of last year’s ‘Slimewatch’ campaign we hope these new insights will help us further understand mollusc behaviour and the resulting impact on the spread of lungworm.”
Donna Tomlinson, Product Manager at Bayer Animal Health said: “After launching the 2014 lungworm awareness campaign, we quickly began to recognise the enthusiasm among pet owners that exists to encourage action. ‘The Big Snail Count’ will not only provide an educational platform for families to learn more about slug and snail populations in their gardens but it will also reinforce the important need to remain aware of the lungworm parasite.”