Heartworm Disease in Dogs

Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in the heart, lungs, and nearby blood vessels of infected animals, resulting in heartworm disease, a potentially fatal condition. Despite being treatable, heartworm infection can cause long-term damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs.


How heartworm is spread

A dog may contract heartworm larvae when bitten by a mosquito. The larvae continue to move through the dog’s body until they reach the blood vessels in the heart and lungs. The heartworm larvae develop into adult heartworms that can reach lengths of up to 12 inches during the course of about six months while they are still in those blood vessels. When a dog is bitten by a mosquito, the cycle of adult heartworms multiplying and releasing young heartworms into the dog’s blood is continued.


Diagnosing heartworm

The higher your dog’s prospects of recovery, the earlier heartworm illness is identified. Also, it’s crucial to test your dog every year because there aren’t many if any, early indications of the condition. Heartworms can be detected by a quick blood test.

If your dog does exhibit heartworm disease symptoms, they may include coughing, an aversion to physical activity, and poor physical condition.


Preventing heartworm

It’s essential to administer your dog’s monthly heartworm preventative on the same day to ensure his protection. In order to prevent your dog from being bitten in the first place, it is advisable to consider a product that repels mosquitoes as well.

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.