Heartworm is spread by mosquito’s from dog to dog affecting all kinds of breads and sizes. It takes 3 to 6 months for adult heartworms o develop in a dog after it has been bitten. The heartworm impairs blood circulation, resulting in damage to the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. Serious damage may occur, even before the owner detects outward clinical signs.
Treatment is very successful when the disease is detected early. The adult worms are killed with an arsenic drug given through a series of IV injections. A few days later, the worms will begin to die off and are carried through the bloodstream where they will eventually lodge in small blood vessels. They slowly decompose and are absorbed by the body over a period of several months. Another drug is then given approximately 4 weeks later to rid the bloodstream of the microfilaria (“baby” heartworms). One week later your vet will check to see if the treatment was successful.
A new medication, which is given orally once each month is, now our choice. It should be given once each month all year long. The medication is available both as a tablet and liquid. Routine testing for heartworms once each year is suggested for all dogs.