Understanding Heartworm in Dogs
As loving and responsible dog owners, it’s important that we make sure our dogs get proper healthcare every year. This includes getting their core vaccines, getting the proper blood work done, and giving them their needed flea and tick medication, as well as their heartworm prevention.
Heartworm disease affects dogs nationwide, but particularly those that are near big mosquito populations. The disease is caused by a parasitic worm that is spread through the bite of a mosquito. The larvae travel to the heart where they live, mature, and reproduce. At any point there could be upto 250 worms living inside the heart, with some worms measuring 12 inches in length.
Heartworm is a serious condition that takes months to develop. During the development phase, your pup may not show any signs or symptoms of heartworm infection. That’s why it is critical that your dog gets regular blood work done so the vets can check for heartworm. It may take over 5 months for the first signs of heartworm to even show up in the blood work following the bite of an infected mosquito. Antigen tests can test the blood to see if there are specific heartworm proteins or microfilariae (the larvae) present in the blood.
Some of the signs and symptoms of heartworm include:
- Mild persistent cough
- Reluctance to exercise
- Fatigue after moderate physical activity
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
For Heartworm Prevention and Treatment, Bring Your Canine to Animal Hospital on Milam Road
Keep your pup protected against the dangers of heartworm disease. At Animal Hospital on Milam Road, our vets have the experience and expertise to guide your pet to a healthy and happy lifestyle. Our team is highly educated, compassionate, and dedicated to delivering high-quality care to the animals of Denton and the surrounding areas.
It’s important to get your dog tested for heartworm every year. Although heartworm prevention is a great way to prevent the disease from entering the body, once heartworm is present in a dog, the prevention medication won’t be able to eliminate the worms. Luckily, there are FDA-approved drugs that can kill the heartworms within dogs. The earlier you are able to detect heartworm presence, the higher the success rate of eliminating the disease.