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Do Dogs Need Heartworm Prevention?

One of the most common questions dog owners ask veterinarians is whether heartworm prevention is necessary. Do dogs need heartworm prevention? Even if your canine companion mostly stays at home, you still need to consider whether heartworm prevention is necessary.

Some websites seem to suggest that heartworm medicine is dangerous for dogs. That should not surprise you. Of course, you will find many opposing opinions on medication for both humans and animals. That is why you need to do your homework before choosing any form of treatment. 


What Is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is a severe and potentially deadly disease. Do you have a canine companion? If so, you need to learn more about heartworm disease. Doing so can keep your dog and family worm-free and healthy. 

Heartworm disease is a severe condition that can lead to heart failure, lung disease, and other organ damage. It can even lead to death in many types of pets, especially dogs and cats. A parasite known as Dirofilaria immitis causes this disease. 

A bite from an infected mosquito causes and spreads heartworms, especially in dogs. When an infected mosquito bites a host, it deposits larvae that mature into adults. Matured worms mate and reproduce offspring. The offspring live in the dog’s heart, lungs, and any associated blood vessels, leading to heartworm disease in the infected animal.  


Heartworm Lifecycle in Dogs

Adult heartworms reproduce in the host’s bloodstream. Under the right conditions, the heartworm larvae living inside the host spread. It typically takes about seven months for them to mature into adult heartworms. After mating, the adult heartworms release their offspring into the bloodstream, thereby completing their lifecycle. 


Is Heartworm Disease Contagious?

This condition is not contagious. That means that your furry friend will not catch it from an infected dog. The disease spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito. However, heartworms have a lifespan of between five and seven years. That is one of the main reasons why heartworm prevention is so important. 


Does Your Dog Need Heartworm Prevention?

To answer this question, you need to think of the immune system. When you think about your dog’s health, you probably think about conditions such as kennel cough, cancer, and parvo. However, the condition of your canine friend’s immune system will protect their body from various parasites, including heartworms. 

Therefore, you need to ensure that your dog’s immune system can protect them from any possible health issues. After all, they are a cherished and loyal member of your family. Advanced heartworm disease can have severe consequences. It can also cause fatal side effects in dogs, including lethargy, chronic cough, and a reduced oxygen supply. 


Preventing Heartworm Disease

As a compassionate and dedicated pet parent, you will want to do everything possible to keep your animal friend safe and healthy. The good news is that heartworm disease in dogs is entirely preventable. Before you start giving your dog any heartworm medications, consult your veterinarian at Eastern Animal Hospital. They will recommend the appropriate type of preventative measure or treatment for your pooch.

For more on heartworm prevention in dogs, visit Eastern Animal Hospital at our office in Baltimore, Maryland. You can call (410) 633-8808 today to schedule an appointment.

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