Heartworms, parasites that many dog parents dread from, infest your dog and feed on blood and nutrients to mature and multiply in numbers, simultaneously reach the heart and block the blood flow resulting in severe heartworm disease.

Heartworm disease and heartworm infection seem to be similar but are different because the later one prologues the body to the heartworm disease.

When a mosquito bites a heartworm-infected dog, along with the blood it also sucks the offspring larvae of heartworm present in the blood. These larvae reside in mosquito for 14 days and develop into infectious larvae called microfilariae. And then when the same mosquito bites another healthy dog, the infectious larvae are then transferred into the body. Once the microfilariae are transmitted, they thrive in the blood vessels and heart, develop into adults (10-12 inches long), and proliferate enough to cause health issues.

This entire process is for about 6 months and it also can be diagnosed only after 5-6 months. The number of worms in the heart is called a worm burden.

Now until the initial months, it is only an infection when the worms are multiplying. There will be very minimal or no symptoms during this period. Things get ugly when the numbers of worms in the heart become more start chocking the blood supply.

Then your pooch starts getting the Heartworm disease. Heartworm disease makes your dog sick and has life-threatening repercussions.

What Happens When Your Pooch Is Infected From Heartworm Disease?

  • When the heartworms start living in the blood body initially activates its own defense mechanism to combat these worms but unfortunately, these worms are too big to be destroyed. This combat results in the inflammations in the arteries thus resulting in interruptions in the blood flow that causes unusual clotting and excessive swelling in arteries.
  • Clotting straightforwardly means less blood supply leading less oxygen supply to the body organs. This causes scarring and stiffening of lung tissues. And, stiffening of lung tissues means reluctance in exercise and excessive panting and breathing problems.
  • Pneumonia, damage to kidney, eyes, liver, and joints are also the fatal consequences that your pooch can suffer.
  • There is a chance of pooch suffering from Caval Syndrome, which is one of the fatal conditions of heartworm disease. In this disease, the heart gets filled with heartworm that they travel back to the vena cava. High worm burden also makes it difficult to pump the blood eventually resulting in heart and liver failure due to shock. Invasive method i.e. surgical removal of the worms is the only option in this case to save the infected dog.

It may be very clear for you now that why most of the vets suggest starting heartworm preventive treatments like Heartgard Plus, Nexgard Spectra, Revolution, and Interceptor. Also, make sure to get your pooch checked for existing heartworm infestation before starting a heartworm preventive because administering a heartworm preventive on heartworm infected fido can result in shock.