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Everything You Need to Know About Heartworm Disease in Dogs

Heartworms are a type of roundworm that lives in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels of afflicted animals, causing heartworm illness, which can be fatal. Despite being curable, heartworm infection can permanently affect the heart, lungs, and other internal functions.

How does heartworm spread?

Heartworm larvae can be transmitted to a dog through a mosquito bite. The larvae then travel through the dog’s body until they come into contact with the blood vessels of the lungs and heart. The larvae stay in the blood arteries for about 6 months, growing into adult heartworms that can grow to be up to 12 inches long. When a dog gets bitten by a mosquito, the cycle continues as adult heartworms grow and release young heartworms into the dog’s blood.

Heartworm detection

The faster heartworm disease is discovered, the better your dog’s chances of recovery. It is also critical to test your dog every year because there are few, if any, early signs of the ailment. A simple blood test can reveal heartworms.

Coughing, reluctance to physical exercise, and poor physical condition may be indicators of heartworm illness in your dog.

Heartworm prevention

Giving your dog a heartworm preventative on the same day each month is critical for keeping the disease at bay. It’s also a good idea to consider a mosquito repellent, which will help keep 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. Your dog is more likely to contract heartworm if:

A preventive medicine dose was skipped.
A preventive medicine dose was administered late.
The dog spit out or vomited the preventative.

The longer a heartworm infection goes untreated, the worse it becomes. Heartworms can have an influence on a dog’s health and quality of life even after they have been treated and removed.

If your dog requires a heartworm test or a yearly preventive care appointment, if you require a prescription for their heartworm preventative, or if your puppy is exhibiting symptoms of a heartworm infection, please contact us.