Heart healthy = happy hounds. Some simple advice from Dr. Patten
As the weather gets warmer and more mosquitoes come out, it’s a good reminder to make sure your dog is up to date on his heartworm test and taking his monthly heartworm preventative.
Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Heartworm disease most often affects dogs but can affects cats as well. Infected mosquitoes transmit heartworm to dogs by biting dogs and transmitting larvae into the blood stream. The larvae then develop into mature adult worms that live in the blood vessels by the heart and lungs. Adult heartworms can grow to up to one foot in length. Due to their location in the body, heartworms can cause significant damage to the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
Although heartworm infection can have serious complications and treatment of heartworm disease is costly, the good news is that prevention of heartworm disease is simple and easy. Dogs should take a monthly heartworm preventative all year round and be tested yearly for heartworm.
Signs of heartworm disease are coughing, exercising intolerance, and lethargy. However, many dogs infected with heartworm show no clinical signs. For these dogs the heartworm is detected by a test performed with your veterinarian. If your dog has lapsed with his heartworm preventation bring him to your veterinarian to get tested and restarted on his heartworm preventative.