pet3All pets are susceptible to heartworms, and while most owners make sure their pets are treated for heartworms, most don’t know what heartworms are or how they develop in their pet’s body. Countryside Animal Hospital wants to help you understand the importance of getting your furry friend treated for heartworms and provide you with a better understanding of what a heartworm is and the danger they pose to your pet.

For starters, dogs get heartworms only through the bite of an infected mosquito, there’s no other way for them to develop them. The reason prevention is so important is that there’s no way to determine if a mosquito is infected, let alone ensure your pet never gets bit. And, while mosquito population may differ state to state, heartworms have been recorded in each state.

Once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito it takes roughly 7 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. After they’ve fully matured, they make their way to the heart and lungs of your pet, as well as the surrounding blood vessels, and they start to reproduce, populating and poisoning the body of your dog. Heartworms can grow to be 12 inches in length, and can live anywhere between 5 and 7 years. As if that doesn’t sound awful enough, a dog with heartworm disease can have as many as 250 heartworms in their body.

Preventing this from happening to your pet is simple and inexpensive. Giving your pet a monthly pill or a semi-annual injection can keep your pet safe from heartworms. While the prevention is inexpensive and simple, treatment is not. Removing heartworms from your pet’s system is extremely expensive and painful. Visit Dr. Speights at Countryside Animal Hospital in Fort Collins for more information about heartworms or to treat your pet from heartworms!