Heartworm disease is more prevalent in our region every year. Early in the disease there are no symptoms that your dog even has a problem. A mosquito bites your dog and injects the baby heartworms into the blood stream. These baby heartworms are circulated around the blood and grow. They eventually find their way to heart. It takes about six months for the worms to make it to the heart. This is where the adults live and create all sorts of havoc for your pet. These adult worms can grow up to 1 foot long! And there is are always more than just one worm. YUCK!!!
These worms live in the heart, the symptoms of Heartworm disease are similar to heart disease.
- Mild, persistent cough
- Easily fatigues.
- Exercise intolerance or reluctance to exercise
- Panting more often than before or when the temperature isn't that warm.
- Enlarged belly from excess fluid build up
- Decreased appetite and weight loss.
The American Heartworm Society has some great resources for further reading.
Heartworm disease is treatable. We can kill the adult worms in the heart with medication. The body will absorb the worms after they die. If your pet suffers from any heart damage, that is permanent. Prevention is the best.