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Asheville Dog Heartworm Prevention

We’ve all heard the nasty term heartworm, but what exactly is heartworm disease? Heartworm is a parasite that, in adulthood, lives in a dog’s heart and arteries. A dog can acquire a heartworm infection from the bite of a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae from an infected dog or coyote. Once the adult heartworms are settled in the arteries, they cause inflammation and possibly blood clots. If there are many worms present, they can clog the arteries, leaving little blood pumped to the dog’s lungs, sometimes resulting in heart failure or death.

This is why it is essential to protect your dog from these horrible critters. It does not make a difference if your dog stays primarily indoors or is never around other dogs. Anywhere a mosquito can go, heartworms can go. The best plan is to keep your dog on a heartworm preventive year-round. Monthly heartworm medication can assist in killing young heartworms after your dog has been exposed. Killing the heartworms at the larval stage will help prevent the worms from reaching adulthood and causing serious health issues.

Heartworm tests are also essential in the fight. It’s a good idea to test dogs annually even if they stay on a monthly preventive; this is the most complete way to prevent the disease. While dogs with heartworm infection can show signs of lethargy, coughing, or nose bleeds, symptoms are not always present, which is why routine testing is a good idea. We also strongly encourage a test if your pet has missed a dose of monthly prevention. Giving heartworm preventive to an infected dog can cause additional health complications, which is why you want to test, test, test.

If your dog does test positive for heartworms, treatment is available. Treatment options differ between pets, depending on the severity of the infection. Keep in mind that heartworm treatment is hard on your pet, as well as your wallet, which is why doing everything you can to prevent these parasites is your best choice.

For additional questions regarding heartworm disease and heartworm prevention, please contact Pet Vet at (828) 232-9990.