Today show host Lisa Wilkinson shared some sad news this morning, revealing that her four-month old boxer puppy has been left paralysed after eating a slug in her backyard.
Little Maggie has lost all mobility in her back legs and now has to get around with the help of a special wheelchair.
Television personality and veterinarian Dr Katrina Warren also appeared in the segment, saying dog owners should not let their dogs out in yards where there are slugs or snails.
Lisa said Maggie was just 10 weeks old when she collapsed in the backyard and was found by her husband Peter.
Huge heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been so kind asking about our boxer puppy Maggie after she became paralysed by contracting rat lung disease after eating a slug in our garden. I haven't wanted to post before now because things weren't that great for quite a while. But now, she has her own set of wheels and day by day we are getting there. So, if you'd like to meet her – and yes she is completely adorable!! – she is going to be joining us on set on @thetodayshow tomorrow. I hope you can join us – and I promise you are absolutely going to love her! #boxer #boxersofinstagram #boxerpuppy #boxers
“Two weeks after we got Maggie… on a Saturday morning, my husband came into the bedroom,” she said.
“I was having my traditional Saturday morning sleep-in and Pete said something is horribly wrong with Maggie… and he put her on the floor and she just completely collapsed.
“She had lost muscle tone and feeling basically from her front legs back.
“We got her to the vet and what she discovered was [Maggie] had eaten a slug in our garden and she had developed something called rat lung worm disease.”
Wilkinson said Maggie was only given a 20 per cent chance of living and her back end had been paralysed.
Rat lung worm is a parasite usually found in rats, but can be ingested by snails or slugs through faeces.
Any animals that eat the snails or slugs carrying the parasite can be left in severe pain and paralysed.
“Puppies in particular like chewing things they explore the gardens they often pick up a slug or snail,” Dr Warren said.
“Once they are ingested that larvae goes through the digestive system to the base of the spinal cord and then they migrate.
“Usually the animal presents with excruciating pain.”
She said it is usually a problem on coastal New South Wales and Queensland.
“I don’t encourage anyone allowing their puppies outdoors if you know you have slugs and snails,” she said.
“[Try] to use natural remedies… with slugs and snails. It is not so beautiful but [use] a saw dust path around or sand.”
Lisa is hoping that everyone will use this as a warn others about the danger and keep their pets safe.