Oh…if it were a simple answer! Unfortunately, your dog can have heartworm disease and not show any symptoms. This disease is perpetuated by mosquitoes…which we all know are plentiful in our state of Florida. Once a mosquito bites a dog that has heartworm disease, it is able to transmit the offending organism to all future dogs it bites; that is, if that next dog is not taking heartworm preventative.
Prevention is so easy. There are many available monthly medications. Some are given orally as a pill. Some are applied topically on top of the neck of your dog. All are very effective.
Some pet owners want to know why their dog has to have a yearly heartworm blood test if they are using heartworm preventative. The answer is easy. Nothing is 100% effective. Sometimes we forget to do things on time. Sometimes a pet will spit out a pill without an owner realizing it. Therefore, it’s important to have your dog tested every year. It is a simple blood test which your veterinarian will perform; often right in the office. That means you’ll have the answer before you even get back in your car to leave!
And why don’t cats get heartworm disease? Well, actually they can. And that can be the focus of a future blog!