|Heartworm Disease: How To
Protect Your Pet
Every year thousands of dogs contract Heartworm disease. This often fatal
disease, which is spread by mosquitoes, can be prevented. Because of the
mosquito population in this state (some even refer to it as the state bird!) we
must all be diligent in testing for and providing prevention medication to
ensure our companions life is as long and full as possible.
Testing for this disease is easily done at your pets annual exam. A technician
will draw a blood sample from your pet and perform a Heartworm "snap" test.
This test will detect the antigen in the blood which signals a Heartworm
Our Heartworm test also tests for other diseases common to this area due to
our tick population. Lyme disease, Ehrlicia , and Anaplasmosis are all
covered with one test. These three diseases are all tick born diseases.
Catching these diseases early will give your pet a better chance of a full
- Have your pet examined annually by a
- Have your pet tested once a year for
- Provide your pet with Heartgard Plus
Chewable Tablets once a month year
A mosquito must ingest the microfilaria before they can become infectious. The mosquito must then inject
the Heartworm larvae into the susceptible pet. It takes 3 to 6 months for adult Heartworms to develop in a
dog after an infected mosquito bites it.
Heartworms occur in all breeds of dogs: large and small, short haired and long haired, inside-dogs and
outside-dogs. Heartworms also are now known to infect cats.
Treatment is very SUCCESSFUL when the disease is detected early. The adult worms are killed with an
injectable drug given in a series of 2 - 3 injections. A few days later, the worms begin to die, and are carried
by way of the bloodstream to the lungs where they lodge in small blood vessels. They slowly decompose
and are absorbed by the body over a period of several months.
Once you have treated a Heartworm infection, you should give your pet Heartgard Plus every month in
order to be certain none of the Microfilaria left from the adult Heartworms have a chance to reinfect your
- Difficulty breathing
- Tiring easily
- Weight loss
Treatment is very SUCCESSFUL when the disease is detected early.
If a dog is infected with heartworm disease they can be treated. This is done with a series of injections.
Before the injections can be given however, the dog must undergo x-rays and blood work to determine the
severity of the disease.
Once the severity of the heartworm disease is determined, the dog will undergo a series of injections in the
muscle along the spine. The number of injections will depend on the severity of the disease.
The worms will then break up and enter the bloodstream to the lungs where they lodge in small blood
vessels. They slowly decompose and are absorbed by the body over a period of several slowly
decompose and are absorbed by the body over a period of several months. The bloodstream to the lungs
where they lodge in small blood vessels. They
During the period of time in which the Heartworms are decomposing it is very important to keep the
infected dog very quite. Owners are instructed to take the dog out for "bathroom breaks" only on a leash,
and to never let the dog run, jump around or become excited. Doing so may allow large pieces of the adult
Heartworm to cause a sort of clot in the veins of the blood vessels of the lungs, causing the dog to die.
Once you have treated a Heartworm infection, Heartgard Plus must be given every month in order to be
certain none of the Microfilaria left from the adult Heartworms have a chance to reinfect the dog.
BENEFITS OF YEAR-ROUND PREVENTION:
- Mosquitoes can survive the winter inside your home. A mosquito which is
carrying Heartworm disease is as much of a threat to your dog in the
winter as in the summer. Only one bite can infect your pet.
- Convenience. It will be more convenient to “stay on schedule” to remind
you to give the Heartworm prevention.
- Provides protection for dogs that travel to warmer climates during the
**HEARTWORM CHECKS ARE STILL RECOMMENDED EVERY OTHER YEAR
EVEN WITH YEAR-ROUND HEARTWORM PREVENTION, AND AN ANNUAL
WELLNESS EXAM IS REQUIRED TO PURCHASE PREVENTATIVES!!!
Reasons for this include:
- The Heartworm preventive medication may be vomited or spit out by your
dog without your knowledge, thereby, exposing your pet to Heartworm
- Either by accident or oversight, you may forget to give the monthly
- None of the routine Heartworm tests are able to detect immature or early
Heartworm infestation. Your dog may have had an undetectable infection
at the time of his/her last Heartworm test, and therefore, could have a
dangerous infection. Heartworm preventives WILL prevent new infections
of Heartworms, BUT it CANNOT prevent the progress of pre existing
- Adult Heartworms live in the right side of the heart.
- They are 6-14 inches long. Several hundred may be present in the dog!
- Heartworms impair blood circulation, resulting in damage to the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.
Serious damage may occur, even before outward clinical signs are detected by the owner.
- Heartworms are found throughout the United States and Canada.
Call our clinic for more information regarding Heartworm disease:
Take these steps to prevent Heartworm Disease in Your Pet:
Animal Clinic, PA
Disease Cases At
How your pet is infected
with Heartworm Disease: