Does My Dog Need Preventative Heartworm Care?
Being proactive with your dog’s health is a crucial step for a responsible pet owner, so preventative heartworm medication should be a regular part of your dog’s treatment plan.
Heartworm disease occurs when an infected mosquito bites a dog, transmitting the infection to your pet. The complete cycle starts with the transmission, then the worms mature into adults, mate, and produce offspring, all while living inside the dog.
Because mosquitos are the only carrier of the disease, even a dog that spends the majority of his time indoors can get heartworm. The best treatment is always prevention, as the symptoms can cause your pet much discomfort and may be fatal.
In this post, we’re discussing the symptoms of heartworm disease and five reasons heartworm prevention is so important.
Does My Dog Have Heartworm Disease?
The idea of heartworm disease makes even the unsqueamish squeamish, so if you think your dog has it, you want to get it under control fast.
There are four classes of heartworm disease, each with its own set of symptoms:
- Class I: Unnoticeable symptoms to mild symptoms, such as infrequent coughing
- Class II: Mild to moderate symptoms, such as periodic coughing, lethargic behavior after minimal exertion, and decreased appetite
- Class III: Severe symptoms, such as an unhealthy appearance, persistent cough, tiredness after mild activity, difficulty breathing, and signs of heart failure
- Class IV: Life-threatening symptoms, such as a swollen belly and refusal to eat or exercise
These symptoms will build on top of each other as they move up the class list, so working with your local animal hospital at first signs is incredibly important.
Reasons to Treat Your Dog with Preventative Heartworm Medication
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can be easily prevented with proactive care. Below are some reasons why heartworm prevention is essential:
- Prevention is easier than treatment: Treating heartworm disease can be costly, complex, and stressful for both your dog and you. Prevention is much easier, cheaper, and less traumatic.
- Heartworm disease is widespread: Heartworm disease is found in all 50 states of the US and is a common problem in many other countries. Any dog that is exposed to mosquitoes could potentially contract heartworm disease.
- Heartworm disease can be fatal: If left untreated, heartworm disease can be deadly for dogs. The worms can grow up to a foot long and can cause severe damage to the dog’s heart, lungs, and other organs.
- Preventing transmission to other dogs: If one dog in your household or community is infected with heartworms, it can easily spread to other dogs through mosquito bites. By giving preventative medication to all dogs in your home or community, you can help prevent the spread of heartworm disease.
- Regular check-ups: Heartworm preventative requires regular check-ups with your veterinarian, which can help detect other health issues and ensure that your pet is up-to-date on other preventive care, such as vaccinations and parasite control.
Edgewater Animal Hospital for Your Pet’s Health
We know you don’t want your pet to be in pain; giving them heartworm medication is one way to help them avoid it. Let us contribute to your dog’s health and comfort by providing them with safe, effective, and proactive heartworm solutions.
If you think your pet has heartworm or is showing any signs of discomfort, please contact us for an appointment immediately. We’re ready to design a healing treatment plan and give you the tools to safely continue caring for your dog at home.