Unfortunately, it’s as scary as it sounds: worms that live in your dog’s heart and major blood vessels of the chest! Heartworm doesn’t need dog to dog contact it is transmitted via mosquitoes.
Heartworm disease regularly kills dogs in many parts of Australia, that includes South Australia. But it is also easily preventable.
How do dogs get heartworm?
What are the signs that my dog my have Heartworm?
Clinical signs of Heartworm in dogs are due to the stress that adult worms cause to a dog’s heart and pulmonary arteries. The signs of heart disease or heart failure are:
How do vets check for Heartworm in dogs?
Can heartworm in dogs be successfully treated?
Heartworm can be treated, but it carries a high risk for your dog and there are no guarantees of success. Your dog needs a series of arsenic-based injections or possibly even surgery to remove the adult worms from their heart. The main risk is blood clots forming around or on the dying worms in your dog’s heart. As with most of these sorts of things, prevention is better than cure.
Starting at 3 months of age, a range of products are available such as tablets, chews, syrups, top spots on the skin and injections. Some preventive treatments are daily, some monthly or an injection Annually.
Familypet Vet can advise you on the most suitable product for your puppy. If your adult dog has been off heartworm preventative medication for longer than 6 months they will require testing before commencing any type of preventive treatment.
Heartworm can be found all through the mainland of Australia. South Australia is not the most affected state but cases still appear. This is mainly due to the travelling most Australians do throughout the states with their dogs and return to South Australia with infected dogs.