What Is Heartworm Disease?
While outdoor playtime certainly offers numerous benefits, it also increases the risk of exposure to heartworm in dogs. This does not mean that dogs are completely safe indoors. It simply means that potential exposure to heartworm infection increases with more exposure to the outdoors.
Heartworm is spread through dogs via bites from infected mosquitos. Once a heartworm infestation occurs, it will become life threatening. Therefore, our goal is to implement a preventive program before your dog is exposed.
When an infected mosquito bites a dog, it injects larvae into the dog. The larvae then mature over a period of several months, eventually ending up in the right side of the heart and the pulmonary arteries. Once this occurs, they mature into adult heartworms in dogs, and can reproduce about six months from the time of invasion. At approximately eight months after the invasion, heartworm in dogs begin to produce a new crop of microfilariae that will live in the dog's blood for about one month. By the time this occurs, most dogs are showing significant heartworm symptoms, and their lives are in danger.
As heartworm disease progresses through each stage, treatment methods become increasingly invasive. This is a big reason why early detection plays a major role in the options and ability for your dog to recover. Remain aware of any changes in your dog's behavior. If you do find that your dog is displaying symptoms that are different than their normal behavior, it is important to make a veterinary appointment right away.