Everything You Need to Know About Heartworm in Dogs

Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in an animal’s heart, lungs, and blood systems nearby. This can cause heartworm disease, which can be fatal. Even though heartworm can be treated, it can cause lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs.

How the heartworm gets around

Heartworm eggs can be passed to a dog by a mosquito bite. The larvae then move through the dog’s body until they reach the blood vessels in the lungs and heart. The larvae stay in the blood vessels for about 6 months, during which time they grow into full-grown heartworms that can be as long as 12 inches. When a mosquito bites a dog, the adult heartworms spread and release young heartworms into the blood of the dog. This keeps the cycle going until the dog dies.

Getting a heartworm test

The sooner heartworm disease is found, the better your dog’s chances of getting better. Also, it’s important to get your dog tested every year because there aren’t many or any early signs of the disease. A quick blood test can find out if your pet has heartworms.

If your dog does have heartworm disease, he or she might cough, not want to be active, and be in bad shape.

Keeping away heartworm

It’s important to give your dog a heartworm preventative on the same day every month to keep him safe from the disease. You should also think about a product that keeps mosquitoes away, as this will help keep your dog from getting bit in the first place.

During your dog’s annual preventive care visit, we’ll check for heartworms to make sure the preventive has worked. If any of the following are true, your dog is more likely to get heartworms:

A dose of a protective drug was not taken.

Late at night, a dose of protective medicine was given.

The dog threw up or spat out the medicine.

Heartworm infections can get worse if they are left unchecked for a long time. Heartworms can affect a dog’s health and quality of life even after they have been treated and are gone.

Call us if your dog needs a heartworm test or an appointment for yearly preventive care, if you need a refill on their heartworm preventative, or if your baby is showing signs that could be caused by a heartworm infection.