How You Can Protect Your Dog from Heartworms

Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels around affected animals. Heartworm illness is a potentially fatal ailment that is brought on by heartworms. Despite being curable, heartworm infection 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 around six months, during which time they mature into adult heartworms that can reach lengths of up to twelve inches. When a dog gets bitten by a mosquito, the cycle is repeated as adult heartworms grow and release young heartworms into the dog’s blood.


Diagnosing heartworm

The faster heartworm disease is discovered, the better your dog’s chances of recovering. Additionally, it’s essential to test your dog annually because there are few, if any, early signs of the ailment. A simple blood test can identify heartworms.

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.

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

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.

Call us if your dog needs a heartworm test or yearly preventive care appointment, if you need a refill for their heartworm preventative, or if your puppy is displaying symptoms that might indicate a heartworm infection.

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