How to Protect Your Dog From Getting Heartworms

Heartworms are a specific kind of roundworm that reside in the heart, lungs, and adjoining blood vessels of animals that are infected, resulting in heartworm disease, which has the potential to be lethal. Although it can be treated, heartworm infection can lead to lasting harm to the heart, lungs, and other organs of the body.

How heartworm is spread

Dogs can contract heartworm disease from mosquitoes that carry larvae and transmit them during a bite. The larvae migrate through the dog’s body and end up in its lungs and blood vessels surrounding the heart. After maturing for six months, they become adult heartworms, which can reach up to 12 inches in length. These adult heartworms reproduce and release young heartworms into the dog’s bloodstream, starting the cycle over again when another mosquito bites the dog.

Diagnosing heartworm

It is crucial to detect heartworm disease in dogs early on to improve their chances of recovery. Since there are limited early symptoms, it is essential to have your dog tested annually. A straightforward blood test can detect heartworms. In case your dog exhibits symptoms of heartworm disease such as a cough, sluggishness or poor physical condition, seek medical help immediately.

Preventing heartworm

Remember to give your dog a heartworm preventative on the same day every month to safeguard them against the disease. Also, applying a mosquito-repelling product can avoid your dog from being bitten by mosquitoes.

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 in dogs can worsen gradually if left untreated. Even after the worms are treated and eliminated, they can still impact the dog’s health and quality of life.

To schedule a heartworm test, yearly preventive care appointment, or refill for your dog’s heartworm preventative, please contact us. Additionally, if you suspect your puppy has symptoms of a heartworm infection, please reach out.