Heartworm disease is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition that affects dogs and other mammals. It occurs from an infection of parasitic worms that causes damage to the blood vessels, heart, lungs, and other organs. You might be wondering, “How does a dog get heartworm, and how do I prevent my dog from getting it?”
Fortunately, several preventive measures can help protect your dog from contracting heartworm disease. By giving your dog preventative medications from your veterinarian, you can significantly reduce your dog’s risk of getting this potentially fatal condition.
How Does a Dog Get Heartworm?
Your dog can contract a heartworm infection when an infected mosquito carrying heartworm larvae bites it. When infected mosquitos bite an animal that already has heartworm, they can transfer the infection to the next animal they bite. If an infected mosquito bites your dog, the larvae enter your dog’s body through the bite wound.
What Are the First Signs of Heartworms in Dogs?
The initial signs of heartworm disease in dogs can include mild coughing, exercise intolerance, and lack of energy. These first signs may only be noticeable during periods of physical exertion when your dog is playing or running.
As the infection progresses, more severe signs, such as a deep cough and weight loss, can appear. Early detection is vital to the successful treatment of heartworm disease and can slow down the progression of the disease.
If your dog is presenting one or more of the following symptoms, visit your veterinarian for a heartworm test.
- Breathing problems
- Weight loss
- Swollen stomach
How to Prevent Heartworm in Dogs
One of the most effective ways to prevent heartworm infection in dogs is with monthly preventive medication. Heartworm medications work by killing any worm larvae present in the bloodstream and preventing the transmission of adult heartworms.
Keeping your dog’s environment free of standing water where mosquitoes can breed and avoiding contact with wild animals can also reduce their risk of infection.
Contact Midway Animal Hospital for Heartworm Treatment and Prevention
Consult with your veterinarian about heartworm prevention methods like monthly preventative medications or blood tests to detect early signs of infection. At Midway Animal Hospital, we can provide answers to important questions such as, “How does a dog get heartworm?”
Contact our experienced and caring veterinarians at (770) 475-2003 to schedule a heartworm test for your dog in Atlanta, GA.
We started at Midaway Animal Hospital in summer of 2017 after relocating here from Ohio. Our 15 year old dachshund and 7 year old corgi/beagle mix are always in the best of hands no matter what their needs are. All of the vets here are phenomenal and super knowledgeable, the entire staff and front office are always helpful and listen to any concerns and truly care for our dogs and put up with questions anytime! Truly blessed to have Midway Animal Hospital for our fur kids.