Protect Your Dog from Heartworms

Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in the heart, lungs, and nearby blood vessels of infected animals, causing heartworm disease, a potentially fatal condition. Although it is treatable, heartworm infection can cause permanent damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs in the body. 

How heartworm is spread

Mosquitoes can pass heartworm larvae to dogs through bites. The larvae travel throughout the dog’s body and settle in the blood arteries of the heart and lungs. After about 6 months, the larvae mature into adult heartworms that can reach up to 12 inches in length. These adult heartworms can reproduce and release more larvae into the dog’s bloodstream, which can then be transmitted to other dogs by mosquitoes. 

Preventing heartworm

To protect your dog from heartworm disease, make sure to give them a heartworm preventative on the same day each month. Additionally, consider using a mosquito-repelling product to prevent your dog from getting bitten.

During your dog’s annual preventive care appointment, we will test for heartworms to confirm the effectiveness of the preventive measures. Your dog may be more susceptible to heartworm infection if:

  • The preventive medication was not taken as scheduled
  • The preventive medication was administered later than scheduled
  • The dog either spit out or vomited the preventive

If left untreated, heartworm infections can worsen over time. Even after treatment and elimination of heartworms, they can still affect a dog’s health and overall well-being.

Diagnosing heartworm

To increase the chances of your dog’s recovery from heartworm illness, it is important to detect the disease early. Because there are few or no early signs of the disease, it is important to have your dog tested annually with a quick blood test. If your dog does show signs of heartworm disease, such as coughing, reluctance to exercise, and poor physical condition, it is critical to seek veterinary care.

If your dog needs a heartworm test or their yearly check-up, or if you need a heartworm preventative refill, please call us. Also, get in touch if your puppy shows symptoms of a heartworm infection.