Heartworms: Know the Facts

Heartworms in dogs is costly and difficult to treat, but inexpensive and easy to prevent.

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month, and Braxton’s wants you to have the facts.

1.More than a million pets in the U.S. have heartworm disease.

2.Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states.

3.Both cats and dogs contract heartworm disease.

4.Heartworm disease can be fatal.

5.Prevention is safe and cost-effective.

Transmission

Heartworms are transmitted only through the bite of an infected mosquito.

According to WebMD, it takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Then they lodge in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing. Adult worms can grow up to 12 inches in length, can live 5-7 years, and a dog can have as many as 250 worms in its system.

Since dogs are natural hosts for heartworms, they are more at risk than other pets like cats. Heartworms that live inside the dog mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. If untreated, their numbers can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries, and can affect the dog’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone, according to the American Heartworm Society.

Prevention

For this reason, heartworm prevention for dogs is by far the best option, and treatment—when needed—should be administered as early in the course of the disease as possible. Learn more about heartworm medicine for dogs.
Year-round prevention and annual testing are recommended by the American Heartworm Society. 


April is Heartworm Awareness Month, so Braxton’s is reminding its friends that heartworm disease is preventable. Visit your veterinarian to be sure that your pet is fully protected.

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