Heartworm disease in dogs

Heartworm disease is upsetting to think about, more frustrating is that it is preventable. We see dogs every year testing positive for heartworm disease. We like to keep pets healthy by recommending that they are on medication all year around as a preventative. We know from the statistics heartworm is increasing. Heartworm is carried by mosquitos and we have them in Corfu year around and yes they come indoors. It only takes one bite for your pet to become infected.

What is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition and is caused by parasitic worms (heartworms) living in the major blood vessels of the lungs and finally in the heart. These worms are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Heartworm disease can cause a variety of medical problems affecting the lungs, heart, liver, and/or kidneys. Any of these problems, alone or in combination, can lead to death. Although safe and effective treatment is available, it can be a costly and complicated process depending on how long the dog has been infected and how severe the infection is.

Despite the fact that heartworm disease is virtually 100% preventable, many dogs are diagnosed with it each year.

Yearly testing is the standard of care. Treatment for Heartworm is very costly and carries risk.

If infection is detected early enough, heartworm disease can be treated before permanent damage to the heart, lungs, and blood vessels occurs. However, if the infection has been present for a long time or consists of a large number of worms, the risk of complications increases. In these cases, treatment can be more expensive and complicated, and dogs may take many months to recover from the infection. Animals must remain confined for a long period of time and hospitalisation may be required. Untreated heartworm disease will be fatal.

Pick a date — and stick with it

Timing is everything...when it comes to heartworm prevention. If you give your dog a monthly heartworm preventive, make it a habit to give the medication on the same day every single month. (If you use a six-month injectable, don’t leave your veterinarian’s clinic without making your pet’s next appointment.)

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