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Dog with Heartworms

Dog with Heartworms

A Dog With Heartworms is More Common Than You Think

We have some good news and some bad news about dogs with heartworm. The bad news is, heartworms in dogs are difficult to cure and very expensive; the good news is that heart-worms are really easy to prevent.  So, if you think that your have a dog with heartworms.

The disease is exactly what it sounds like, larvae that infect a dog’s heart and lungs, and then grow into adult heartworms. There is only one way for your dog to get heartworms – through mosquito bites – which makes prevention more focused.

Effect of Heartworms in Dogs

After your dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, it takes approximately seven months for the disease to take hold. As the heartworm larvae begin reproducing, they will fill the heart and lungs. An infected dog will develop a cough and become winded quickly, not unlike COPD in humans. In more advanced cases, a  dog with heartworms will start wheezing and gasping for air. If left untreated, the condition will eventually kill the dog.

But don’t worry about catching heartworms from your dog because it it’s extremely rare for that to happen. Dogs cannot even transfer heartworms to other dogs – only mosquitoes can. Treatment for dogs with heartworm requires the drug Imiticide to be injected into your dog two or three times, and can cost over $1,000.

An Ounce of Heart Worm Prevention

Heartworms in dogs are found in all 50 states, even during the colder months when mosquitos are scarce, so all dog owners should listen to the experts and give their pets monthly pills and topical medications. Total cost for preventative care is about $35 per year.

Remember, once your dog is cured of heartworms, it can become re-infected from another mosquito bite. This is exactly why prevention of the heart-worm parasite key.

(The image above is a derivative of Austin Community College,; CC BY-SA.)


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