10 April 2012


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 fatal.

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.

US Heartworm Infection
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