Heartworms

The following is an actual conversation that the names have been changed to protect the guilty

-Mrs. I Love My Dog (We all know Mrs. I Love My Dog, who provides her dog with every known treat and a constant supply of new toys): “Doctor, Spot has had a little cough for a couple of weeks. I don’t think it is anything serious, probably just a little tickle in his throat.”

-Dr. Red Flag: “Mrs. I Love My Dog, I think since Spot has not been on a heartworm preventative, to be safe we should check Spot for heartworm disease.”

-Mrs. I Love My Dog: “Ok, if you think it is necessary. But I am sure that Spot could not have heartworms because he never goes outside.”

Fifteen minutes later after the heartworm test is complete, Dr. Red Flag enters the room.

-Dr. Red Flag: Mrs. I Love My Dog, I am sorry to report that Spot has heartworms.

-In shock and totally dumbfounded, Mrs. I Love My Dog exclaims “How is this possible?”


How is it possible that an inside dog could test positive for heartworms? The simple answer is an infected mosquito bit and infected the dog. Not 100 mosquitoes. Not ten mosquitoes. Simply one infected mosquito.

Most of you know that an infected mosquito transmits microscopic larva into your dog at the time of feeding. Over the next 5-6 months these larvae develop into 10-15 inch long worms in the heart and the major pulmonary vessels. The signs of heartworms generally start as coughing and possible exercise intolerance, developing into full scale congestive heart failure in time.

In spite of the advances in heartworm prevention over the last thirty years, the number of heartworm cases continues to increase. According to the Americian Heartworm Society, statistics say each veterinary clinic in our region will treat around 50 dogs with heartworms this year.

While heartworm treatment is available for dogs, good results depend on early detection and is also expensive. As in so many things, an ounce of prevention is cheaper than a pound of cure. Heartworms prevention depends on us. We have the means to prevent heartworm. Call us today at 417-623-3080 to have your dog checked for heartworms and start a preventative program.