Heartworms in Dogs - Common Questions and Answers

11/30/2011

Heartworms in Dogs

If you own a canine than you most likely know what a common and serious problem that heartworms in dogs can be. Although we all know that the condition exists, most of us probably don’t know the specifics. It is important to familiarize yourself with some of the most commonly asked questions concerning heartworms and their respective answers. A well informed pet owner is crucial to your dog’s health and happiness.  

Can any dog get heartworm disease?
Your canine can definitely get heartworms. It does not matter if they are primarily an outside dog or if they spend most the time indoors. Dogs contract heartworm disease from the bites of female mosquitoes, which are small enough to find a way indoors. Every dog is at risk for heartworm disease.

What is the cause of heartworm disease?
Heartworm disease, also known as dirofilariasis, is a severe and potentially deadly disease in dogs. It is caused by worms called Dirofilaria immitis that are found in the heart and adjacent vessels of infected dogs. The female worm is anywhere from 6 to 14 inches long and the male is about half that size. One dog could potentially have as many as 300 worms.

Are heartworms more common in one kind of dog?
In reality, a dog is not safe from heartworms no matter what breed or size that they are. If an infected mosquito feeds on your pet they can become infected with the heartworm parasite.

How do I know if my dog is infected with heartworms?
It’s relatively straightforward. Take your dog to their regular veterinarian and have them do an examination and a heartworm test. It’s a quick and simple test and you will know for sure. It is important to get this done regularly as the treatment for advanced heartworm disease can be expensive and risky.

How is heartworm infection detected?
A simple blood test can be run by your veterinarian to determine the presence of heartworms in your dog. If the heartworm infection is in an advanced state, your veterinarian may require further testing to determine if your dog is healthy enough to be able to go through the rigorous treatment process.

What is the best time to get my dog tested?

Basically, any time of year where mosquitoes are out in full force is a good time to take your dog for testing. Your veterinarian should be able to let you know when the peak season is in your area and when the best time to bring you dog in for testing would be.

Are heartworms more common in a specific location?

Heartworms in dogs occurs worldwide. It was once strongly concentrated in the southern regions of the United States but has spread over the years to include the entire country. It can really be found in any location where there is a high population of mosquitoes.

How long can a dog be infected with heartworms?
It normally takes a number of years for a canine to show any symptoms of infection. It is most commonly diagnosed in dogs that are 4 to 8 years old because it has had time to manifest. In contrast, it is harder to diagnose in younger dogs because the parasites take several months to grow into their full adult size.

Heartworms in DogsHeartworm disease is a serious issue in any pet’s life. Although it is a fairly common disease it can be a very scary experience to go through with your dog. It is important to know the facts and to familiarize yourself with the problem so that you can keep your pet safe and healthy.
Russ Barker was familiar with heartworms in dogs but was unaware of the specifics of the disease. So he did a little research to provide some important details to the public. Russ is a superstar blog writer for Dog Tag Art, a pet-centiric website that offers fully personalized pet ID tags featuring full-color graphics and multiple lines of custom pet information. These super durable and quality crafted custom dog tags are sure to not only make a statement but ensure that pets are protected.
Russ Barker

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