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No Heart for Worms

During February, and particularly on Valentine’s Day, the team here at CanadaVet.com will be sharing the love in our hearts by spreading the word about Heartworm disease; a dangerous yet easily preventable disease that can potentially be fatal to our pets.  Read on to discover how our pets catch heartworm disease, associated symptoms and how it can be easily prevented. 


 

Heartworm Disease
Feeding on surrounding blood in the arteries of the lung and chambers of the heart, heartworms can grow up to 30cm in length.  Primarily a disease of the lungs, your pet’s heart, liver and kidneys may all be affected; resulting in clot formation, bleeding through vessel walls and the inflammation of surrounding lung tissue.  In severe cases, Heartworm Disease can cause death.

How Do Dogs Get Heartworm

  • Heartworm larvae are transmitted by infected mosquitoes that  inject tiny heartworm larvae into the dogs skin
  • The larvae develop in the tissues and migrate onto the bloodstream and then to the heart, where they continue developing and grow into adult worms.
  • Whilst living in the heart and blood vessels surrounding the heart, they reproduce more larval offspring into the dogs bloodstream
  • These larvae can then be taken and transmitted to another dog by mosquitoes.

Symptoms
1.    Dry and persistent cough
2.    Lack of stamina and tiring easily with exercise
3.    Loss of appetite
4.    Weight loss
5.    Enlarged abdomen

Severed damage to internal organs and heart failure are symptoms in advanced cases and it is very important to understand that this potentially fatal disease can appear out of nowhere; so by the time a pet starts to show symptoms, at least half of the pet’s lungs are infected.

Prevention
The great news is that this detrimental disease can be easily prevented and there is a variety of treatment options available. Most preventative treatments are used monthly:

 

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