Heartworm disease is one of those things that is costly and dangerous to treat but easy and inexpensive to prevent. Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets that is caused by heartworms that live in the heart and lungs. Pets who are affected can suffer from severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats and ferrets.
Heartworm disease is transmitted through mosquitos. The adult female heartworms living in the infected dog produce microfilaria (microscopic baby worms), these can circulate into the bloodstream. The mosquito then bites the dog that is infected and taking some of the microfilaria with it. These microfilaria develop into their mature phase in 10-14 days. When the mosquito bites the next dog this give the microfilaria a chance to enter the uninfected dogs bloodstream. These can take up to 6 months to develop fully into a mature adult. Once the worms are mature they can live up to 5 to 7 years in dogs and 2 to 3 years in cats.
Since heartworm disease can go unnoticed in the early stages of the disease, this causes it to be very dangerous. As the disease progresses more symptoms will occur. Some symptoms are mild persistent cough, not wanting to be active, quickly fatigued, decrease in appetite, and weight loss. Symptoms will continually worsens the longer the disease goes untreated.
How to help keep your dog safe is to get them test annually for heartworm disease and keep your dog on year round prevention. We preform the Heartworm 4DX Snap tests, these test for heartworm disease, anaplasmosis, erlichia, and Lyme disease. When your pet comes into us for their annual wellness exam we will draw a small amount of blood from their front leg, this will test them for any diseases. You can also help by keeping your dog on yearly prevention. We carry Heartgard Plus and Interceptor Plus, both of these preventatives are chewable tablets that are given once a month to your dog. You can set reminders on your phone, download an app, or place the stickers you get on your calendar to remind you.