How Dogs Get Heartworm?

Now that we are in prevention season you may have a few questions about what your pet is taking.Part of our Canine prevention is heartworm prevention.

You may be wondering, “How does a dog get heartworm?”

Dogs can only get heartworm from being bitten by an infected mosquito; there is no other way for dogs to get heartworm and no way to tell if a mosquito is infected.

That is why we put all of our canines on preventative medication. It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Heartworms can lodge in the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels and begin to reproduce. An adult worm can grow up to 12 inches in length and can live 5-7 years.

Before we place our canines on prevention medications we always like to do a blood test, this avoids any harmful or possibly fatal complications. If a heartworm-infected dog is started on monthly prevention without testing, immature heartworms are susceptible to the medication and may die suddenly, causing a serious, shock-type reaction which may be fatal to the pet. If placed on prevention and this does not occur, the heartworms remain in the heart causing serious pathology, often irreversible to the heart and lungs.

The prevention won’t kill the adult heartworms; the only way to be sure your pet is free of heartworms is to have the blood test performed. When your dog’s blood test comes back negative for heartworm they will be put on Interceptor.

Interceptor is a chewable tablet that is flavoured and easy to give to your dog. This once-monthly tablet prevents heartworm and treats and controls worms such as hookworm, roundworm, whipworm and tapeworms.

  • Whipworm (Trichuris vulpis) – Interceptor treats and controls this pesky parasite that can persist for years in the environment, is difficult to diagnose and can result in ongoing diarrhea for dogs.
  • Roundworm (Toxocara canis, Toxascaris Leonina) – Interceptor treats and controls this parasite, which is not only a major problem in dogs but can also result in serious health concerns in people if they get infected.
  • Hookworm (Ancylostoma caninum) – Interceptor treats and controls this blood-sucking parasite that can also cause disease in people if they get infected.
  • Heartworm (Dirofilaria Immitis) – Interceptor prevents the development of adult worms, which if left to develop, could result in life-threatening infection in dogs.

Now that you know this information, call us to book your pet’s heartworm blood test and get your furry friend started on prevention like Interceptor!