Heartworm disease in dogs is a slow chronic condition due to the infection of large roundworms called Dirofilaria immitis. Clinical signs of illness are generally not present until the condition is advanced and organ damage occurs. Typical signs include coughing, exercise intolerance, weight loss, and fainting; similar signs to chronic heart failure.
In an infected animal, adult male and female heartworms live in the dog's heart and adjacent large blood vessels. The female releases live young called microfilariae into the dog's circulating blood stream. These larvae are ingested by mosquitoes as they take a blood meal. They will infect another healthy dog when the mosquito takes another blood meal. They migrate from the skin to various tissues until they reach the heart and develop into adult worms. This developmental period takes about 6-7 months.
Canine Heartworm Disease is very common in South East Asia. Early detection is essential for early treatment and prevention by a blood test.
Very Important - A blood test must be carried out BEFORE starting heartworm prevention. Most heartworm-infected dogs can be successfully treated if the condition is diagnosed early.
Prevention and Control
a) Control mosquitoes by screening and spraying clear stagnant water and disposing of rubbish
b) Preventive medications include once a month prevention tablets, or an annual injection
Please consult your veterinarian for further information with regard to your dog's health.