Heartworm disease is transmitted from dog to dog through the mosquitoes. This disease affects thousands of dogs throughout the United States and can be fatal if left untreated. Heartworm treatment is difficult and expensive — and further complications to your dog's health can occur. Symptoms of heartworm disease can include coughing, sluggishness and difficulty breathing, though some dogs might show no outward, clinical signs at all.
Over time, however, damage to your dog's heart and lungs can be severe. It can include:
· Damage to the lining of the artery leading from the heart to the lungs (pulmonary artery)
· Clogging of the pulmonary artery
· Heart valve malfunction
· Heart enlargement and failure
Your best weapon against heartworm disease is always PREVENTION. Provide your dog with year-round heartworm prevention even if they are indoor companions. Ask your veterinarian about all the options available for heartworm prevention. It is important to have your dog tested by your veterinarian to make sure he is not already infected. Once your veterinarian has determined your dog is free of heartworm, you can start your dog on the prevention prescribed by your veterinarian. If the test is positive, your veterinarian should discuss all your treatment options.