Heartworm Disease is a devastating and fatal disease seen commonly here in the Grand Valley.
Fortunately it is preventable and now more treatable than in years past. The disease is spread by infected mosquitoes. When the infected mosquito bites an unprotected dog, the larvae is passed from mosquito’s saliva into the bloodstream of the dog.
The larvae travel in the bloodstream for a few months before settling in one of the chambers of the heart, where the worms will grow and become more numerous. This will continue until the worms have taken all available space in the chamber, preventing blood from being pumped through the heart. Without a properly functioning heart, the animal is unable to survive.
Prevention is easily accomplished with once a month medication. Before starting heartworm preventative, a simple blood test must be performed to ensure that a heartworm infection does not already exist. If a dog is on year round preventative, this blood test only needs to be repeated every 2 years to make sure that a break through infection has not occurred.