Heartworm disease is an infectious disease spread by biting mosquitoes. Infected animals can develop heart and lung disease, and these can be fatal. Fortunately, heartworm cannot be contracted in our area. It is endemic to warmer areas such as the southern Okanagan and the southern United States.
If a dog has heartworms, what symptoms should I look for?
The most common signs associated with heartworm infection include coughing, lethargy (or exercise intolerance), blue or pale gums, spitting up blood, or bloating in the abdomen.
How does a dog get heartworms?
Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm in its larval stage that has been spread from a mosquito after it has bitten another infected animal. The larvae circulate throughout the blood until they find a home in the major vessels that feed the heart and lungs where they then develop into large worms.
What are the treatment options for heartworms?
Please consult with your veterinarian for prevention options for your dog. Dependent on the time of year, destination and length of stay will determine the best practice of heartworm control for your dog. Generally, heartworm prevention involves treatments for at least one month before, the months during, and three months following travel to heartworm endemic areas.