While heartworm prevention is important year round, it is especially crucial during the summer months. Summer is when the mosquito populations see significant increases, and since mosquitoes are the transmitters for heartworm disease, this only makes sense. Heartworm larvae require temperatures above 57 degrees Fahrenheit to mature. Although it is pretty warm here in Los Angeles all year round, we do dip below that number during the winter months quite often, especially at night. Summer is really the prime time for heartworm to thrive. Here, we will look at some of the dangers of heartworm, and what you can do to prevent them.
Once your dog has been bitten by a heartworm infected mosquito it can take around six months for the larvae to mature into adult worms. During this time, they will travel through your dog’s bloodstream, eventually ending up in their heart. Here, they will begin to reproduce, filling your dog’s bloodstream with new larvae which will be picked up by the next mosquito, starting the process all over again somewhere else. As the heartworms continue to reproduce, they will begin to clog your dog’s heart and lungs, eventually obstructing blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Eventually, most dogs will die from heartworm infestation.
The great news is that heartworm is completely preventable. The only way for a dog to become infested with heartworms is through a mosquito bite. There are several options for heartworm prevention, including pills, topical treatments, and injections. We can help you determine which route is best for you and your dog.
If your dog becomes infected, acting fast is essential. If it is caught early enough, heartworm can be fully treated. All dogs should be tested annually for heartworm for this reason. If you find out that your dog has become infested, your vet will work with you to create a treatment plan based on the severity of the infestation. Once your dog has tested positive, here are the likely steps that a treatment would entail:
- Confirmation of diagnosis using a secondary test
- Restriction of exercise
- Retest to ensure success
Your treatment plan will vary depending on the severity of the infestation. After the treatment plan is complete, prevention is key. Reinfestation is still a risk, even if a dog has already gone through heartworm treatment.
As you can see, heartworm prevention is extremely important. We can test your dog for heartworm, provide prevention options, as well as treatment in the event that your dog has an infestation. Contact us today for mobile vet services in Los Angeles.