Defend Your Dog Against Heartworms

Infected animals with heartworms develop heartworm disease, a potentially fatal condition. Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in the heart, lungs, and nearby blood vessels. Even though heartworm infection is treatable, it can cause long-term damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs.


How heartworm is spread

A mosquito bite can cause a dog to contract heartworm larvae. The larvae then proceed through the dog’s body until they come into contact with the blood vessels in the heart and lungs. The larvae stay in those blood vessels for about six months, during which time they mature into adult heartworms that can reach lengths of up to twelve inches. When a dog is bitten by a mosquito, the cycle is continued as adult heartworms grow and release young heartworms into the dog’s blood.


Diagnosing heartworm

The higher your dog’s prospects of recovery, the earlier heartworm illness is identified. Also, it’s crucial to test your dog every year because there aren’t many if any, early indications of the condition. Heartworms can be detected by a quick blood test.

If your dog does exhibit heartworm disease symptoms, they may include coughing, an aversion to physical activity, and poor physical condition.


Preventing heartworm

Giving your dog a heartworm preventative on the same day each month is crucial for protecting him against the disease. It is advisable to take into account a mosquito-repelling product as well, as this will aid in keeping your dog from getting bitten in the first place.

During your dog’s yearly preventive care appointment, we’ll check for heartworms to ensure the preventive has been effective. Heartworm infection in your dog is more likely if:

  • A dose of preventive medication was missed
  • A dose of preventive medication was given late
  • The preventive was spit out or vomited by the dog

Heartworm infections can grow more severe the longer they go untreated. Long after they have been treated and are gone, heartworms can still have an impact on a dog’s health and quality of life.

If your dog requires a heartworm test, annual preventive care, a heartworm preventative refill, or if your puppy is exhibiting symptoms that could point to a heartworm infection, call us.