We like to say that dogs “worm” their way into our hearts. But there’s actual worms that sneak into theirs.
Heartworms are parasitic worms that literally grow in your dog’s heart. (We know. It’s gross.) They cause heartworm disease, a serious illness leading to heart failure, organ damage, and even death in dogs and cats. Symptoms include coughing, fatigue, and difficulty breathing.
How do these worms get there? Mosquitoes carry their larvae, infecting pets with a bite. Six months later, the larvae grow into adults. The adult worms mate (okay—TMI), releasing their kids into the dog’s bloodstream.
So what can you do to prevent heartworms?
- Get your dog tested annually. Even if your dog looks healthy, these creepy crawlers could be inside them.
- Give your dog regular preventives. There are many monthly medications available, both chewable and topical. There are also injections that your veterinarian can administer that last 6 to 12 months. Talk to your pet’s veterinarian about what’s best for them.
If you’re a client of Neighborhood Vet Care, contact us to get your pet tested and for advice about preventives.
Ready to order a preventive? Click here to browse our online pharmacy.