Heartworm Prevention Protects Your Dog
From a Dangerous Parasite
Heartworm is a parasite that takes up residence in a dog's circulatory system. They live in the heart, lungs, and major arteries where they reproduce and grow in numbers. The worms reduce oxygen and blood flows, slowly damaging the dog's organs over time. Do not let heartworm shorten your dog's life. Our veterinarian at Summit Veterinary Hospital in Los Gatos, CA, can help you and your dog with heartworm prevention and give your dog a long and healthy life. Here is a look at heartworm and why you want to prevent it from happening.
Heartworm is Transmitted by Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes carry heartworm when they are in a larval stage, known as a microfilaria, and transfer them into a dog's bloodstream through their bite. Once the larvae are in the bloodstream, they find their way to the heart, lungs and blood vessels and latch on to the walls of the organs and vessels. After attaching, the heartworm starts to grow and reproduce.
A Heartworm Infection Is Not Immediately Visible
It takes about 6 to 7 months for the microfilariae to mature, mate and begin the reproductive cycle again. They reach anywhere from 4 to 12 inches in length and look like cooked spaghetti. The worms eventually reproduce to a point where they block most of the blood flow through the organs and make it difficult for a dog to breathe.
Signs of a Heartworm Infection in a Dog
A dog that is normally continually active may start to slow down with no obvious explanation. On the other hand, a mellow dog may seem more lethargic than usual and it is not apparent as to why. Signs of heartworm infection include:
- Mild to heavy cough
- Tires easily
- Troubled or labored breathing
- Heart failure
Stop Heartworm Before It Starts With Help From the Vet
It's possible to prevent heartworm from getting a foothold with regular treatment. There are multiple prescription heartworm meds that are simple to administer and well-tolerated by dogs. Bringing your dog for an annual checkup with the vet will include screening for heartworm and preventative treatment. The vet draws blood to check for the presence of heartworm and prescribe the appropriate medication depending on the results. If a dog is free from heartworm, the vet will prescribe heartworm prevention meds to keep a dog-free and clear from infestation.
Call us at our Vet Hospital in Los Gatos, CA, for an Appointment Today
At Summit Veterinary Hospital, we are here to help your pets stay healthy and keep you informed of their condition. Our services are performed by a CA licensed veterinarian who is ready to help your pets resist disease through proper treatment and prevention protocols. Call us to talk to us about our heartworm prevention services today.