Avoid Heartworms in Your Dog

Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in the heart, lungs, and other blood vessels of afflicted animals, resulting in heartworm illness, a potentially fatal ailment. Despite being treatable, heartworm infection can cause long-term damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs.


How heartworms are disseminated

A dog may contract heartworm larvae via a mosquito bite. The larvae continue moving through the dog’s body until they reach the blood vessels in the heart and lungs. The larvae stay in those blood vessels for around 6 months, during which time they mature into adult heartworms that can reach lengths of up to 12 inches. When a dog gets bitten by a mosquito, the cycle is repeated as adult heartworms proliferate and release young heartworms into the dog’s blood.


Heartworm diagnosis

The earlier heartworm disease is discovered, the better the dog’s chances of recovering. Additionally, it’s essential to test your dog annually because there aren’t many, if any, early signs of the condition. A simple blood test can quickly identify heartworms.

If your dog does have heartworm illness, signs could include coughing, intolerance to exercise, and poor physical condition.


Heartworm prevention

Giving your dog a heartworm prophylactic on the same day each month is essential for safeguarding him against the condition. Consider a mosquito repellent as well, as this will help prevent your dog from being bitten in the first place.

During your dog’s yearly preventive care appointment, we’ll check for heartworms to make sure the preventive has been effective. If any of the following applies to your dog:

  • There was a missing dose of a preventative medication.
  • The administration of a preventative medicine dose was delayed.
  • The dog vomited or spit out the preventative.

The longer heartworm infections go untreated, the worse they can become. Heartworms can still have an effect on a dog’s health and quality of life years after they have been treated and eliminated.

Call us if your puppy is exhibiting symptoms that could hint to a heartworm infection, if your dog requires a heartworm test, a yearly preventive care visit, or if you need to refill their heartworm medication.