Everything You Need to Know About Heartworm Disease in Dogs

Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels around infected animals. Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition that is brought on by heartworms. Despite being curable, heartworm infection can cause long-term damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs.


How heartworm is spread

When a mosquito bites a dog, it can transmit heartworm larvae to the dog. The larvae then go through the body of the dog until they come into contact with the lungs and heart’s blood arteries. The larvae remain in those blood arteries for around 6 months, during which time they develop into adult heartworms that can grow to be up to 12 inches long. As adult heartworms multiply and release young heartworms into the blood of a dog, the cycle is continued when the dog is bitten by a mosquito.


Diagnosing heartworm

The earlier heartworm disease is discovered, the better your dog’s chances of recovering. Also, it’s crucial to test your dog every year because there aren’t many if any, early indications of the condition. Heartworms can be detected by a quick blood test.


If your dog does have heartworm disease, symptoms might include coughing, a dislike of exercise, and poor physical health.


Preventing heartworm

Giving your dog a heartworm preventative on the same day each month is crucial for protecting him against the disease. It is advisable to take into account a mosquito-repelling product as well, as this will aid in keeping your dog from getting bitten in the first place.


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 can grow more severe the longer they go untreated. Long after they have been treated and are gone, heartworms can still have an impact on a dog’s health and quality of life.


Call us if your dog needs a heartworm test or yearly preventive care appointment, if you need a refill for their heartworm preventative, or if your puppy is displaying symptoms that might indicate a heartworm infection.