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Dog and cat owners in the UK are being warned about a potentially fatal eye infection called Thelazia Callipaeda or ‘oriental eye worm infection’. The infection was first discovered in China in 1910 and has more recently been observed in european countries such as Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Romania, Hungary, Greece and Serbia.

The infection is transmitted via a type of fruit fly which is present in the UK, through landing, feeding, secreting and laying infected larvae onto the eye and can cause blindness or even death amongst cats and dogs. As this fly is present in the UK, experts are worried that an infected animal could easily return to the UK and give the infection to a native fly which could then potentially spread.

The most common symptoms are excessive eye watering, visual impairment, conjunctivitis and ulcers or scarring of the cornea. If you notice any of these symptoms then you should contact your vet immediately for a check up as the vet may need to issue antiparasitic medication.