As a pup parent, you will do everything in your power to ensure your canine companion is as healthy as possible. For this reason, you need to make sure that they are protected against heartworm.
According to Dr. Courtney Campbell, a board-certified veterinary surgeon, if left untreated, heartworms could be fatal to dogs and “have been documented in all 50 states,” which means you need to be diligent as a pup parent. He also noted that heartworm disease “comes from mosquitos.”
In a 2013 video, uploaded on the American Veterinary Medical Association channel, Dr. Shelly Rubin, DMV, explained that these parasitic “worms are transmitted in a microscopic state by an infected mosquito and then travel through your pet’s blood vessels and eventually make their way to the hearts and lungs.” If that’s not bad enough, they also will “reproduce and create new microscopic young worms called microfilaria which are circulating in the blood.” He noted that once an infected mosquito bites your precious pup, “it takes about six to nine months for the worms to grow to full size.” Some dog owners may have difficulty realizing their furry friend is infected. A few symptoms to look out for are coughing, lethargy, and appetite loss.
Now, the very thought of your dog getting heartworm disease is terrifying. However, Dr. Rubin asserted that it “is almost 100% preventable.” Depending on the pup and the issue at hand, your vet will prescribe a “topical, oral, [or] injectable” preventative. Vets also advise dogs to get blood tests at least once a year to see if they have heartworm.
“By taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular preventative care and properly administering the treatment prescribed in a timely fashion you can help your pet avoid the devastating heartworm disease,” said Dr. Rubin.