Heartworms

Heartworms are very serious and difficult to treat, but can be prevented from infecting your dog. After a bite from an infected mosquito, larvae work their way into the dog and eventually develop into small adult worms. The worms then enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart, where they mature. The female gives birth to thousands of live young, called microfilaria, which move into the bloodstream and wait for their host (the mosquito) to come along to help them develop into larvae ready to infect another dog.

Dozens of heartworms, up to twelve inches long, have been found in the heart ofjust one dog. There may be no symptoms of infestation for several years, and even then the early symptoms may be misinterpreted. Left untreated, a heartworm infestation can be fatal.

Prevention is vital for the safety of your dog. Blood is drawn and tested to ensure that the dog is free from infection. If he is, your veterinarian will prescribe a heartworm preventive to be given in daily or monthly doses. Depending upon where you live, you may have to administer the drug year-round. In colder areas, where mosquitoes retire for the winter, you may be able to stop the preventing medication for a few months. Your veterinarian will tell you what procedure must be followed.

The devastation caused to a dog's heart and lungs by heartworms is unimaginable and unnecessary. Responsible pet owners will not hesitate to initiate a regimen of prevention for the life of their pets.

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Responses

  • negisti
    How long can a jack russell terrier live with heartworms?
    4 years ago

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