Everything You Need to Know About Canine Heartworm Disease

Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels around infected animals. Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition that is brought on by heartworms. Despite being curable, 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 earlier 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 quick blood test can identify heartworms.

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


Preventing heartworm

Giving your dog a heartworm preventative on the same day each month is crucial for protecting him against the disease. It is advisable to take into account a mosquito-repelling product as well, as this will aid in keeping your dog from getting bitten 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

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 puppy is exhibiting symptoms that might suggest a heartworm infection, if your dog needs a heartworm test, a yearly preventive care appointment, or if you need to refill their heartworm preventative.