Call: 813-689-2207

Protect Your Dog from Heartworms

Heartworms are a type of roundworm that live in the heart, lungs, and nearby blood vessels of infected animals, resulting in heartworm disease, which is a potentially fatal condition. Even though it is treatable, heartworm infection can cause permanent damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs of the body. 

How heartworm is spread

Mosquitoes can give dogs heartworms when they bite them. The heartworm larvae travel through the dog’s body to their lungs and heart’s blood arteries, where they stay for about six months and grow into adult heartworms up to 12 inches long. These heartworms reproduce and release young heartworms into the dog’s blood, which can infect more mosquitoes and continue the cycle. 

Preventing heartworm

It is important to give your dog a heartworm preventative on the same day each month to protect them against the disease. Additionally, using a mosquito-repelling product can help prevent your dog from getting bitten and contracting heartworms. During your dog’s annual preventive care check-up, we will verify whether the preventive treatment against heartworms has been effective or not. Your dog may be more susceptible to heartworm infection if:

  • One of the doses of the preventive medication was not taken
  • The preventive medication was administered later than scheduled
  • The dog either spit out or vomited the preventive medicine

If heartworm infections are left untreated, they can become more severe over time. Even after treatment, heartworms can continue to affect a dog’s health and quality of life.

Diagnosing heartworm

To increase the chances of your dog recovering from heartworm disease, it’s important to detect it early. Since there are few or no early signs, it’s recommended to get your dog tested every year. A simple blood test can detect heartworms. If your dog has heartworm disease, they may exhibit symptoms such as coughing, reluctance to physical activity, and poor physical condition.

If your dog needs a heartworm test or yearly preventive care appointment, needs a refill for their heartworm preventative, or shows symptoms of a heartworm infection, please give us a call.