Heartworms: Prevention better than the Cure

There are a lot of myths surrounding heartworms in dogs.  And prevention is really the best medicine:  Heartworms are easy to prevent but difficult to treat and cure.  Here are the most important facts about heartworms separating fiction from fact:
  • How do dogs get heartworms? Dogs can only get heartworms from the bite of an infected mosquito.  That’s it…there is no other way!  
  • How long do the symptoms take to develop?  When an infected mosquito bites a dog, heartworm larvae are transmitted via the blood stream from mosquito to dog.  It then takes about seven months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms where they find homes near the heart and lungs and begin reproducing.
  • Can my dog pass on heartworms to people or other dogs?  No, heartworms can only be transmitted directly from an infected mosquito.
  • What are heartworm symptoms?  Symptoms develop slowly and gradually over a period of months so are difficult to identify.  Since heartworms congregate around the heart and lungs, your dog is likely to develop a cough and will become easily winded.  These symptoms get more severe as the condition worsens eventually leading to death unless treated.
  • Prevention:  how can I prevent my dog from getting heartworms?  Your Vet is your best source of information on how to prevent heartworms.  Treatments include monthly pills, monthly skin treatments and biannual blood tests.  Consult with your Vet to get the best preventative treatment for your dog.
  • What’s the treatment should my dog become infected?  Only your Vet will be able to provide the proper assessment of the severity of the heart worm infection and prescribe the proper medication to address heartworm infection.

For more information on heartworms, take a look at this short video:

Preventing heartworms is significantly less expensive than the treatment and damage to your dogs health once infected.  Take care now.


At The Dog Stop we are dedicated to ensuring that you and your pet have a long and healthy relationship.  We offer Walks N Wags Pet First Aid courses for Dogs and Cats. From learning how to prevent illness and injuries to dealing with bleeding, broken bones, choking, CPR/AR and so much more. Our next course isJune 14, 2015.  We also offer Training Programs for every age and stage.  Click here for details:  Training Programs.