My Dog Has Heartworms What Can I Do

If you’ve recently discovered that your dog has heartworms, it can be a scary and overwhelming experience. Heartworms are a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can cause severe damage to your dog’s heart and lungs. However, there are steps you can take to manage the condition and improve your dog’s quality of life.

What are heartworms?

Heartworms are long, thin worms that live in the arteries of the heart and lungs. They are transmitted through mosquito bites, and once they enter the body, they can grow up to a foot in length. As they grow, they block the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and lungs, which can lead to serious health problems.

What are the signs and symptoms of heartworms?

The signs and symptoms of heartworms can vary depending on the severity of the infestation. Some common signs include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty exercising

If left untreated, heartworms can lead to serious complications such as heart failure and lung disease. In severe cases, they can even be fatal.

What can I do if my dog has heartworms?

If you suspect that your dog has heartworms, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose the condition through a blood test and a physical examination.

If your dog does have heartworms, your veterinarian will likely recommend treatment with a combination of medications. This will typically involve a series of injections over a period of time to kill the adult worms, followed by a preventive medication to keep new worms from developing.

Follow your veterinarian’s treatment plan carefully and give your dog all of the prescribed medications. It’s important to keep your dog as calm and inactive as possible during treatment to reduce the risk of complications.

What can I do to prevent heartworms?

The best way to prevent heartworms is to give your dog a preventive medication on a regular basis. There are several different types of preventive medications available, including chewable tablets, topical solutions, and injectable medications. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best option for your dog based on their age, health, and lifestyle.

In addition to preventive medications, there are a few other steps you can take to reduce your dog’s risk of heartworms:

  • Keep your dog away from areas where mosquitoes are prevalent, especially during peak mosquito season
  • Use mosquito repellent on your dog when you’re outside
  • Keep your dog inside during peak mosquito hours (dawn and dusk)
  • Keep your yard free of standing water, where mosquitoes like to breed

If you follow these prevention measures and give your dog a preventive medication regularly, you can significantly reduce the risk of heartworms and keep your furry friend healthy and happy.


Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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