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Heartworming your dog

Heartworming your dog

Heartworm your dog regularly to prevent disease

Once confined to the tropics, this deadly mosquito borne disease can now affect dogs in all parts of Australia. Even if out-breaks in your region are uncommon, transiting dogs may carry the disease.

Both dogs and cats can be infected with heartworm, which is usually fatal if left undiagnosed or untreated. Even when it is diagnosed, treating heartworm is risky.

A slow and insidious disease, dogs seldom show immediate signs of infection. As the disease advances, expect to observe:

• coughing
• low energy levels
• reluctance to exercise
• weight loss

Heartworms in dogs grow up to 30cm long. They live in the heart and blood vessels of the lungs, interfering with the function of these organs and damaging healthy tissue, resulting in heart failure. Left untreated, your companion will almost certainly die.

Before commencing heartworm treatment—take your dog to the veterinarian for a blood test. If the test proves negative, heartworm treatment can commence. A positive test result means your dog is infected and will require treatment.

Start heartworm prevention when your puppy is 6 weeks old and keep your dog on it for life. If you miss a dose, consult your vet; your dog may need to be tested before you restart the preventative treatment.

This is general information only, always consult your veterinarian about the best form of treatment for your dog. See Legal Disclaimer.