Heartworm is transmitted to dogs when bitten by a mosquitos carrying the larvae form. The larvae then travel thru the bloodstream and grow into adult worms in the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels. Heartworm can severely and sometimes, fatally damage the heart, lungs and blood vessels. Prevention through once monthly heartworm medication is the best way to keep your dog safe from heartworm as there is no way to tell if a mosquito is infected.
If a dog has heartworm, what symptoms should I look for?
When a dog first becomes infected with heartworm, they will not show any symptoms. However, as the infection gets worse and more worms develop, they will start to show symptoms. These symptoms can vary and get progressively worse from coughing, weight loss and lethargy to difficulty breathing and a swollen abdomen.
How does a dog get heartworms?
A dog can only get heartworm by being bitten by an infected mosquito. A dog can not pass it along to another dog or onto people.
Are there treatment options for heartworm?
Yes, there are treatment options for dogs who have heartworm. Your veterinarian will speak to you and set out a course of treatment that is right for your pet.
Why is recovery for heartworm treatment so challenging?
Treatment and recovery can take several months and during those months, your dog must be at complete rest. As the heartworms die during and after treatment, they break down and move further into the small vessels that supply blood to the lungs. When exercising, the blood supply to the lungs is increased, this can lead to the possibility of dead worms causing a blockage of the blood supply, which can be fatal to your dog.