Keep Your Dog Heartworm-free

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 treatable, heartworm infection can cause permanent damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs.


How heartworm is spread

Dogs can get heartworms from mosquito bites. The larvae from the mosquito travel through the dog’s body until they reach the blood arteries of the lungs and heart. They stay there for 6 months, growing into adult heartworms that can be up to 12 inches long. As the adult heartworms reproduce and release young heartworms into the dog’s blood, the cycle continues when another mosquito bites the infected dog.


Diagnosing heartworm

Early detection of heartworm illness increases the chances of your dog’s recovery. It is vital to get your dog tested every year as there are usually no early signs of the disease. A fast blood test can detect heartworms. If your dog shows symptoms of heartworm disease, such as coughing, reluctance to exercise, or poor physical condition, seek prompt medical attention.


Preventing heartworm

It’s important to give your dog a heartworm preventative on the same day every month to protect them from the disease. You should also consider using a mosquito-repelling product to prevent your dog from getting bitten by mosquitoes 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

Untreated heartworm infections can become more severe with time. Even after being treated and eliminated, heartworms can still affect a dog’s health and general well-being.

If your dog needs a heartworm test, yearly preventive care appointment, or a refill for their heartworm preventative, or if your puppy is showing symptoms that may indicate a heartworm infection, don’t hesitate to give us a call.