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Heartworm Disease

September 20, 2021 Dr. Clay Hellner, Regional Veterinary Medical Director for Pet Paradise
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Heartworms are one of the deadliest parasites we see frequently in dogs. The good news is that heartworms are easily preventable with a medication prescribed by your Pet Paradise Veterinarian.

This disease is common because it is transmitted by mosquitoes in as little as one bite! The pesky mosquito is an intermediate host, which means it is required for transmission.  Thankfully, a dog with heartworm disease cannot directly spread it to another dog.  Heartworm disease is especially prevalent in all the areas where Pet Paradise is located, but it is also distributed throughout the entire United States.

This disease is so deadly because worms grow in the heart and the artery that goes to the lungs preventing these organs from appropriately doing their job of transporting blood and oxygen throughout the body. Ultimately, the heart enlarges and must work harder due to the worms occupying space within it. The pet’s blood cells are destroyed as they collide with these adult worms.  Irreversible damage occurs in the lungs. Left untreated, heartworm disease is fatal. In some, non-advanced cases, heartworm disease can be treated. That said, this treatment can be very dangerous to the pet and is extremely expensive.

This disease is easily preventable. With a simple monthly pill or even an injection given to your dog once or twice per year, heartworms are prevented. Many of these medications also prevent the many intestinal worms, some of which are transmissible to humans. Keeping your pet on heartworm prevention is not just important for your dog, but also important for your entire family.

As with all wellness care, prevention is vital to long term health.  If your pet is not on heartworm prevention, ask one of our caring and knowledgeable Pet Paradise Veterinarians today. Test your pets every year and keep them on prevention!

Written by:  Dr. Clay Hellner, Regional Veterinary Medical Director for Pet Paradise
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