What You Need To Know About Heartworm Prevention
Heartworm disease is a serious condition that can be fatal if it’s not treated properly. It is caused by a parasitic worm that lays its offspring, called microfilariae, into a dog’s bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected pet, the microfilariae travel into the mosquito where they mature for up to 14 days. During this process, they become infectious. When the mosquito bites another dog, these infected and mature larvae are passed on to them. The entire process of a heartworm maturing into an adult can take up to 7 months, so it can be difficult to see any physical signs or symptoms in an infected pup. These heartworms can live inside a dog for years and can reach upto a foot in length. Dogs suffering from heartworm can have anywhere from 1 to 250 worms inside their hearts
It is vital that you get your dog tested for heartworm every 12 months. However, the timing and frequency may vary, particularly if your dog has been in an area where heartworm is more common. Your veterinarian will test for heartworms by performing a blood test to detect specific heartworm antigens.
A dog suffering from heartworm disease may take a while before any physical symptoms begin to show, which is why regular testing is key. However, some of the more common symptoms of heartworm include:
- Mild or persistent cough
- Reluctance to exercise
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
Heartworm is a serious condition that can greatly impact your pet’s health. Since the lifecycle of a heartworm can span many months or years, it’s best to get your pet on a heartworm prevention regimen, and to get them tested for heartworm every 12 months.
Culebra Creek Veterinary Hospital Will Keep Your Pup Safe From Heartworm
If you’re looking for a reliable veterinarian to test your dog for heartworm, look no further than Culebra Creek Veterinary Hospital in the San Antonio area. We are committed to providing high-quality care to animals and their owners. Our talented team members are veterinary professionals who are passionate about pet health and wellness and will do everything possible to make the experience of visiting our facility positive for both you and your pet.