What You Should Know About Heartworm Disease
Heartworm disease is caused by roundworms that live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of infected animals. This can be a fatal condition that causes permanent damage to various organs, even though it can be treated.
How heartworm is spread
Mosquito bites can cause heartworm in dogs. The larvae transmitted by the mosquito travel through the dog’s body and settle in its lungs and heart’s blood arteries, where they develop into adult heartworms over about 6 months. These worms can grow up to 12 inches long and release young heartworms into the dog’s bloodstream. When a mosquito then bites the infected dog, the cycle continues.
Testing dog for heartworm every year is crucial, as there are few early indications of the condition. Identifying the illness early leads to higher prospects of recovery for your dog. A quick blood test can detect heartworms.
If dog is showing signs of heartworm disease, it may have a cough, reluctance to exercise, and be in poor physical condition.
To safeguard your dog against heartworm disease, it is important to administer the preventative medication on the same day every month. Additionally, using a mosquito-repelling product can help prevent your dog from being bitten and contracting the disease.
To verify the success of the preventive measures, we will test your dog for heartworms at their annual preventive care appointment. If your dog falls under the following category, they will have a higher chance of being infected with heartworms.
- 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 can become more severe over time. Even after treatment, heartworms can still affect a dog’s health and quality of life.