Everything You Should Know About Dog Heartworm Disease

A type of roundworm known as a 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 harm the heart, lungs, and other organs permanently.


How heartworm is transmitted

A dog can contract heartworm larvae from a mosquito bite if it gets one. The larvae then proceed through the canine body until they reach the blood vessels of the heart and lungs. The heartworm larvae mature into adult heartworms, which can reach a length of 12 inches, throughout the course of their approximately 6-month stay in those blood vessels. The cycle is perpetuated when a dog is bitten by a mosquito because adult heartworms grow and release young heartworms into the dog’s blood.


Heartworm detection

The sooner heartworm disease is discovered, the better the chances are for your dog’s recovery. There aren’t many, if any, early signs of the ailment, so it’s important to test your dog every year. Rapid blood testing can identify heartworms.


Coughing, a dislike of exercise, and poor physical condition are just a few indications your dog may have if they do have heartworm illness.


Keeping heartworms at bay

It’s essential to administer your dog’s monthly heartworm preventative on the same day to ensure his protection. In order to prevent your dog from being bitten in the first place, it is advisable to consider a product that repels mosquitoes as well.


During your dog’s annual preventive care visit, we’ll perform a heartworm test to ensure the preventive has been effective. Having heartworms puts your dog at higher risk if:

  • It was missed to take a preventative medication dose.
  • A preventative medicine dose was administered after schedule
  • Dog vomited or spit out the prophylactic medication.


As they progress without treatment, heartworm infections may become more serious. Heartworms can continue to have an effect on a dog’s health and quality of life even after they have been treated and eliminated.


Call us if your puppy is exhibiting symptoms that could be signs of a heartworm infection, if your dog needs a heartworm test, if your dog needs a refill on their heartworm preventative, or if your dog requires a yearly preventive care appointment.