What’s the big deal about heartworms anyway?

“What’s the big deal about heartworms anyway?”  Heartworm disease is a potentially deadly disease of the heart and lungs.  All dogs (and cats, too) are at risk.  Just like the name implies; heartworm disease is an actual worm that lives in the heart of an animal.  We think you’ll agree that a worm living in your pet’s heart is a pretty big deal.

“How does a worm get into my pet’s heart?”  Mosquitoes.  Yup, that little insect that drives us all crazy is to blame.  First, a mosquito bites a dog that is already infected with heartworm disease.  At that time they suck up super tiny heartworm larvae.  When that same mosquito bites another dog, the larvae infect that dog.  Without a heartworm preventative, the larvae will continue to grow and migrate.  Eventually they will reach the heart and lungs where they set up shop and really get to growing.  For such a little bug, a mosquito is a pretty big deal.

“I don’t want my pet to get heartworm disease.  What do I do?”  Administration of an approved heartworm preventative is the best defense.  Heartworm prevention medications are given every 30 days, year-round.  The majority of preventatives are given orally.  Talk to us today about which preventative is best for your lifestyle.  To keep your pet heartworm-free, preventatives are a pretty big deal.

Here are some quick facts about heartworm disease:

  • The American Heartworm Society estimates that over 1 million dogs are infected with adult heartworms.
  • One bite of a mosquito is all that is needed to transmit heartworm disease.
  • Left untreated, heartworm disease may be fatal to your dog
  • Heartworm disease is a year-round health threat that has been diagnosed in all 50 states.
  • Heartworms in dogs grow to an average of 12 inches in length.  Worms live 5-7 years.
  • The average number of heartworms in an infected dog is 14-20.  It is not uncommon for dogs to have more than 50 worms.

Give us a call today to set up an appointment for a heartworm test.  We’ll get you set up with the preventative you need!