Snails, a Growing Threat to Dogs

October 15, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. innocuous [ih-NOK-yoo-uh s] (adj.) – not causing any harm or damage
Example: The trainer assured the young boy that he could pet the innocuous dog.
2. span [span] (v.) – to cover or cross
Example: The bees spanned a one-hectare garden to look for nectar in just about five minutes.

3. extent [ik-STENT] (n.) – the degree or range that is affected by something
Example: The veterinarian sadly informed the pet owners that the extent of the dog’s infection was beyond cure.

4. veterinary surgeon [VET-er-uh-ner-ee, VE-truh- SUR-juh n] (n. phrase) – a surgeon for animals
Example: The veterinary surgeon operated on the dog’s kidneys to prevent the pet’s death.

5. wildlife [WAHYLD-lahyf] (n.) – animals or any living things that are wild and are living in their natural habitat
Example: The diversity of the wildlife got the student interested in zoology.


Read the text below.

Scientists recently published a warning about the seemingly innocuous snails found in people’s backyards.

The snails, which everybody underestimates because of their slow-moving pace, can actually span an average UK backyard in a single night. But what's more alarming is that they can spread a parasite lethal to pet dogs as they cross one’s backyard.

This parasite, called canine [KEY-nahyn] lungworm, can infect dogs when they accidentally eat the slugs or snails in the backyards.

Bayer Animal Health set up a lungworm awareness campaign and study to look into the damage extent and severity that the snails may cause. In the study, researchers at the University of Exeter tracked the movements of around 450 snails. The scientists attached multicolored LED lights to the back of the snails and used UV paint to track their movements.

The researchers then found that the snails can travel distances of up to 25m in 24 hours. According to the researchers, the snails’ ability to span wide areas can become a growing threat to dogs that are susceptible to the canine lungworm.

A recent survey of veterinary surgeons also supports these findings. According to the survey, lungworm parasites are now a problem not only in southern UK but even across the whole country.

Dr. Hodgson, the scientist who led the study, said that the findings do not suggest that everyone should start hunting and getting rid of snails. Instead, people should know that no creature is totally harmless; so, they should be more aware of the wildlife that exists around them.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         After reading this article, do you agree that people should not start proactively looking for snails and get rid of them? Please explain why.
·         Do you think that snails can really threaten the lives of pets? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         How can we prevent our pets from getting diseases? Please explain.
·         What other things do you think can threaten the lives of pets? Please briefly explain.


October 15, 2013