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What is Heartworm Disease in Dogs?

A type of roundworm known as heartworm lives in the heart, lungs, and blood arteries around the affected animal, which can result in heartworm disease, a potentially fatal ailment. Despite being treatable, heartworm infection can permanently harm 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 mature into adult heartworms that can contact lengths of up to 12 inches for 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.


Diagnosing 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 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.

Preventing heartworm

Providing your dog with 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.

We’ll check for heartworms during your dog’s yearly preventive care appointment to be sure the preventative has been successful. Your dog will be at increased risk of heartworm infection if:

  • A dose of preventative medication was missed
  • A dose of preventative medication was given late
  • The preventive was spat 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 impact a dog’s health and quality of life.

Contact us if your puppy exhibits 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.