What are Heartworms and how does my dog get them?
Heartworm disease is a very serious and often fatal condition if left untreated. The best way to protect your dog is to keep them on a reliable heartworm preventative year round for the rest of their life. Heartworms can only be spread from dog to dog by the bite of a mosquito. When a mosquito bites a dog with heartworms it takes in some of the immature microscopic heartworms. This immature stage then develops inside the mosquito and when another dog is bitten the heartworm enters the dog and begins to develop. It takes 6 months from the bite until the worm matures and begins to live in the heart to reproduce. The heartworms take up space inside the heart and can clog the valves reducing the efficiency of the heart. Often the worms can move into the large vein that brings blood to the heart from the abdomen or into the artery that takes blood from the heart into the lungs. The first sign that we usually see when a dog has heartworms is a cough. Besides that we see weight loss, a loss o