Dog heartworm disease is caused by a worm called Dirofilaria immitis, and it is a very serious and sometimes fatal disease of dogs.
A dog gets heartworm disease by being bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten an infected dog. So there is no direct dog to dog transmission, your dog can only get this disease by being bitten by a mosquito.
Once the worms are in the dog’s bloodstream, the worms usually stay near the heart and lungs. Infected dogs may have only a few worms to hundreds of worms.
Signs of dog heartworm infections are related to the worms physically blocking major blood vessels near the heart. Signs include a soft dry chronic cough, shortness of breath, and lethargy. Your Veterinarian can usually diagnose heartworm disease by a simple in clinic blood test and a stethoscope.
There are lots of great heartworm medications on the market that can prevent dog heartworm disease. Some of these need to be taken daily, where as others only need to be given orally once a month.
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