Is Your Dog Near Mosquitoes? Protect Your Dog From Heartworm Disease

If your dog likes to play outside, it may be in danger of becoming infected with heartworms. Just one mosquito bite can transmit the potentially fatal disease on to your dog. If you think your dogs are safe because they stay indoors most of the time, you might be wrong. It is true that most dogs come in contact with infected mosquitoes while there outside. However, indoor dogs can be infected with the disease by mosquitoes that find their way inside your home. Here is a brief description of how the disease is transmitted, as well as the symptoms you should be aware of.

How Heartworm Disease Is Passed To Your Dog

Heartworm disease is passed on through a vicious cycle of bite and get bitten. Here's how the cycle goes.

The First Mosquito Bite

Before your dog gets infected with the disease, a mosquito must bite a dog that has already been infected. After the mosquito bites the infected dog, microscopic larvae begin developing inside their host. The mosquito will continue to carry the larvae until they reach the stage where they are now able to infect other dogs.

Now Your Dog Gets Bit

The minute your dog is bitten by the carrier mosquito, the larvae are transmitted. Once inside, the larvae begin to flow through your dog's bloodstream. They will continue their movement until they reach your dog's heart and pulmonary arteries.

The Growth of the Heartworm

The larvae begin to grow at an alarming rate as soon as they reach your dog's heart and pulmonary arteries. Unfortunately, heartworms can grow to about a foot long at maturity. That's when the damage begins to occur. If heartworms are able to grow to maturity inside your dog, the damage is usually irreparable.

The Symptoms

Sadly, you won't be able to see the signs of heartworm disease right away. In fact, your dog will behave normally until the worms have begun to do damage. It's important that you know the signs of heartworm disease.

Uncontrollable Coughing

If your dog develops an uncontrollable cough that is accompanied by a bloody discharge, you need to get to the vet as soon as possible. Be sure to let the vet know that your dog may have come in contact with mosquitoes.

Changes in Skin Color

Your dog should have healthy pink skin color. However, dogs that have contracted heartworm disease will have discolored skin tone. If your dog develops a blue to purple skin tone, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Difficulty Breathing

If your dog is having a difficult time breathing, is making a raspy noise when it breathes, or is too weak to move, you need to get to the animal hospital immediately. These may be signs that the heartworm is starting to constrict your dog's heart.