If a dog has heartworms, what symptoms should I look for?
Heartworm infections are fairly quiet with little to no symptoms. However, in heavy infections, you might notice coughing, decreased energy, weight loss, etc. Because of the general lack of symptoms, we recommend regular heartworm testing.
How does a dog get heartworms?
Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, which are carriers of the heartworm larvae. When the mosquito feeds on your dog, the larvae get injected into the skin and then migrate into the heart.
What are the treatment options for heartworms?
Treatment depends on how far the disease has progressed and a few other factors. If your dog tests positive for heartworm, a veterinarian will discuss the different options with you and find a treatment option that works best.
Why is recovery for heartworm treatment so challenging?
Heartworms are especially challenging to treat due to their location. The adult heartworms attach themselves to the tissue inside the heart to feed, but once they die, they lose their hold and get swept into the body with the flow of blood. Because of this, we need to be very careful to kill the worms slowly. If too many of them die at once, they can cause blockages of the heart and surrounding blood vessels, and even cause an allergic reaction within the dog.
We strongly recommend using prevention against heartworm because it is easy to prevent, but difficult and expensive to treat.