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Prevent Heartworms in Your Dog

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


How heartworm is spread

Dogs can get heartworm from a mosquito bite. The larvae from the bite travel through the dog’s body until they reach the lungs and heart’s blood arteries. After 6 months, the larvae become adult heartworms that can grow up to 12 inches long. The adult heartworms reproduce and release young heartworms into the dog’s blood, which can be transmitted to other dogs by mosquitoes.


Diagnosing heartworm

Early detection of heartworm illness in dogs increases their chances of recovery. Testing your dog annually is important because there are usually no early symptoms of the condition. A quick blood test can detect heartworms.

Your dog may show signs of heartworm disease such as coughing, being less active, and having poor physical health.


Preventing heartworm

To protect your dog against heartworm, it’s important to give them a preventative on the same day every month. Additionally, using a mosquito-repelling product can help prevent bites and further reduce the risk of disease.

During your dog’s yearly preventive care appointment, we’ll verify if the preventive has been successful in protecting against heartworms. Please note that if certain conditions are met, such as exposure to infected mosquitoes, your dog may be more susceptible to heartworm infection.

  • 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

If left untreated, heartworm infections can become more severe. Even after treatment, heartworms can still affect a dog’s health and quality of life.

If your dog needs a heartworm test, yearly preventative care, a refill of their heartworm medication, or if your puppy shows symptoms of a heartworm infection, please give us a call.