Prevent Heartworms in Your Dog
Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in the heart, lungs, and nearby blood vessels of infected animals, causing heartworm disease, which can be fatal. Although it is treatable, heartworm infection can cause permanent damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs of the body.
How heartworm is spread
Mosquitoes can give dogs heartworm by transmitting larvae during a bite. These larvae travel through the dog’s body and eventually settle in its lungs and heart’s blood arteries. Over six months, they mature into adult heartworms that can grow to be up to 12 inches long. The adult heartworms multiply and release young heartworms into the dog’s bloodstream, continuing the cycle when another mosquito bites the dog.
To increase the chances of your dog’s recovery from heartworm disease, it’s important to detect the illness at an early stage. Since there are very few, if any, early symptoms of the disease, it’s essential to get your dog tested every year. A simple blood test can detect heartworms.
If your dog shows signs of heartworm disease, they may have a cough, be less active than usual, and have poor physical shape.
It’s important to give your dog a heartworm preventative on the same day every month to protect them from the disease. Additionally, using a mosquito-repelling product can help prevent your dog from getting bitten in the first place.
We’ll check for heartworms during your dog’s yearly preventive care appointment to be sure the preventive has been successful. Your dog will be at increased risk of heartworm infection 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
If left untreated, heartworm infections in dogs can worsen over time. Even after the worms are treated and gone, they can still affect the dog’s health and quality of life.
If your dog needs a heartworm test, yearly preventive care appointment, or a refill for their heartworm preventative, give us a call. Also, if you think your puppy is displaying symptoms of a heartworm infection, contact us.