Heartworm has been documented in all 50 states, so all dogs are at risk of acquiring this potentially fatal infection.
Heartworm disease is transmitted from an infected animal to an
uninfected animal through mosquito bite. When heartworms invade a dog’s
heart and lungs, their presence and the inflammation that results make
it difficult for the heart to pump blood through the lungs. Eventually,
heart failure develops. Left untreated, heartworm disease is usually
Heartworm infection treatment is a lengthy and expensive
ordeal. Treatment is usually customized to the individual animal, but
can include monthly injections, medications and hospitalization. Even as
treatment is administered, there is the possibility of life threatening
clotting caused by the presence of dead worms.
Symptoms of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, a
decrease in activity, fatigue, a pot-bellied appearance, a decrease in
appetite and weight loss. Dogs that have only recently been infected may
show no clinical signs of heartworm disease at all and can die of heart
failure without warning.
Luckily, heartworm disease is easily preventable. Regular and correct
use of a monthly heartworm preventative virtually eliminates your dog’s
chance of acquiring heartworm disease. Popular heartworm preventatives
include Heartgard, Sentinel and Advantage Multi. Speak with your
veterinarian about a heartworm test and which heartworm preventative
would be best for your individual pet.
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