Heartworm Disease in Dogs: Information You Need to Know
Heartworms are a species of roundworm that reside within the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of affected animals. This disease, caused by heartworms, is a serious condition that can lead to fatality. While it is treatable, heartworm infection can result in lasting harm to vital organs such as the heart and lungs.
How heartworm is spread
When a mosquito bites a dog, it can transmit heartworm larvae to the dog. These larvae then travel through the dog’s body until they reach the blood vessels in the heart and lungs. Over a period of approximately six months, the heartworm larvae develop into adult heartworms, growing up to 12 inches long within those blood vessels. If the dog gets bitten by another mosquito, the cycle continues as the adult heartworms reproduce and release young heartworms into the dog’s bloodstream.
Detection of heartworm
Your dog has a better chance of recovering the sooner heartworm disease is identified. Additionally, it’s crucial to test your dog every year because there aren’t many, if any, early indications of the illness. Heartworms can be detected with a quick blood test. Some symptoms of canine heartworm disease include coughing, a dislike of exercise, and poor physical condition.
How to avoid Heartworm disease
For them to remain healthy, you must give your dog their monthly dose of heartworm prevention on the same day. Consider using a repellent for mosquitoes to help keep your dog from getting bitten in the first place. We’ll screen for heartworms during your dog’s yearly preventive care appointment to make sure the preventive has been successful.
Heartworm infection in your dog is more likely if:
- Missed a dose of a preventative medication
- Late administration of a preventative medicine dose
- The dog vomited or spit out the preventative.
The longer heartworm infections go untreated, the worse they can get. Heartworms can still have an effect on a dog’s health and quality of life even after they have been treated and eliminated.
Contact us if your dog requires a heartworm test, yearly preventive care visit, heartworm preventative refill, or if your puppy exhibits symptoms that may suggest to a heartworm infection.