Canine Heartworm Disease

Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels around affected animals. Heartworm illness is a potentially fatal ailment that is brought on by heartworms. Despite being curable, heartworm infection can cause long-term damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs.

How heartworms are transmitted
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 mature into adult heartworms that can reach lengths of up to 12 inches during the course of around six months while they are still in those blood vessels. When a dog gets bitten by a mosquito, the cycle of adult heartworms multiplying and releasing young heartworms into the dog’s blood is resumed.

Detection of heartworm
The faster heartworm disease is discovered, the better your dog’s chances of recovering. Additionally, it’s essential to test your dog annually because there are few, if any, early signs of the condition. A simple blood test can identify heartworms.

Coughing, dislike to exercise, and poor physical condition are just a few signs of heartworm illness in dogs that can be seen.

How to avoid heartworm
Giving your dog a monthly heartworm preventative on the same day is essential for keeping him healthy. A mosquito-repelling product should also be considered as it will help prevent your dog from being 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. Heartworm infection in your dog is more likely if:

  • Missed a dose of a preventative medication
  • Late administration of a preventative medicine dose
  • The dog vomited or spit out the preventative

The longer heartworm infections go untreated, the worse they can get. Heartworms can still have an effect on a dog’s health and quality of life even after they have been treated and eliminated.

Call us if your puppy is exhibiting symptoms that might suggest a heartworm infection, if your dog requires a heartworm test, a yearly preventive care visit, or if you need to refill their heartworm medication.