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Dog Heartworm Test

Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease that fortunately is not seen very often in our region. However, that does not mean pets in the area are immune or not at risk. If your pet travels south to warmer climates, the risk increases. These worms will live in the heart and larger vessels and can lead to heart failure if not detected and treated in time.

What are the symptoms of heartworm in a dog?


Heartworm disease can take 6 months or longer to start showing any signs of disease. Coughing is often seen first, and your dog may become increasingly lethargic. In the later stages, your dog may develop a potbellied appearance as fluid can accumulate in the abdomen.

How do dogs get heartworm?


Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. When the mosquito bites an infected dog and then bites another dog, the larvae of the worms are transmitted through the blood. From then, it takes 6 months for the reproductive cycle to complete and adult worms to develop in your dog’s heart.

What are the treatment options for heartworm?


Heartworm disease is treated through a series of injections combined with some oral medications with the protocol we use established by the American Heartworm Society.

Why is recovery and heartworm treatment challenging?


Depending on when your dog is diagnosed with heartworm disease, varying degrees of damage may have been done to their heart, blood vessels, and lungs. Inflammation and clogged vessels from dying worms are two big risks that can still prove fatal even if your dog is treated. This is why we place a strong emphasis on prevention.

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Everyone ages at different rates and speeds. With our pets, they, unfortunately, age at a much faster rate than we do. For example, a 7-year-old cat is approximately 54 human years old, and a 7-year-old dog (depending on size) is approximately 44 to 54 human years old. While we encourage everybody to have annual medical exams so that we can catch illnesses that may not be evident sooner rather than later, this becomes even more important as our animals enter their geriatric stages of life.

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