Your Dog and Heartworms: What You Need to Know

Heartworms are parasites that your dog can contract from an infected mosquito bite. It is something that can be contracted all over the United States, and it is recommended that all dogs be medicated against them. It is easy to prevent them, but it is very hard to treat. Heartworms can cause serious issues for your animals, and a little bit of knowledge can go a long way in keeping your animal safe.

How Dogs Get Heartworms

Your dog can contract heartworms from a mosquito that is carrying the parasite. There is not test to find out if a mosquito has the parasite, so you must treat ever mosquito as a threat. Once the infection has been passed to your dog, it takes around seven months for the larva to become mature heartworms. As the heartworms grown, they find places to live in your dog. They are commonly found in the heart and lungs, and that is where they live and reproduce for years. They grow up to 12 inches, over the course of years, and eventually can kill your dog as they cut of blood flow to important organs.

How to Treat Heartworms

The best treatment is preventative care. In Chicago, a veterinarian can provide a number of different preventative methods. These are different types of medication, and some can also protect against other pests. Talk to your dog’s vet for more information, and to find what works best for your dog.

In cases where prevention was not done, or was not successfully done, a dog can end up with mature heartworms. Classic signs are lethargy and a cough when exercising. Treatment is long, costly, and will not undo the damage the heartworms have already caused. Hospitalization is usually required, and you dog will have to undergo excessive medical treatment. A vet will be needed to administer shots of strong medicine to kill the mature heartworms, and it can be hard on your pet to recover from this.

If you are looking in Chicago for a veterinarian check out Metropolitan Veterinary Center. You can find more information on their website www.metrovetchicago.com.

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