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Heartworm Dangers


Heartworm infection in dogs is becoming more common in many parts of the United States. Currently, one of the largest concerns is the lack of available Immiticide®, the only currently approved treatment for heartworm infections.  This makes prevention even more important. For the best protection it is essential to understand what it is and how it in contracted.  

Heartworm is, in fact, just as it sounds, a worm, a parasite that lives in the heart. Dirofilaira Immitis is the scientific name of the worms that grow into a 9 -16 inch worm. These worms live in the chambers of the heart (primarily the right ventricle) and the nearby pulmonary artery. Due to their length the bodies extend through the valves prohibiting proper closure as blood is pumped through.  Over time, this action will cause permanent damage to your dog’s heart and possibly lungs.   Symptoms vary from dog to dog but, commonly coughing and shortness of breath are the first to appear. Other organs such as the liver and kidneys can also be affected. Once the symptoms have appeared it may be too late for treatment. If left untreated heartworm disease can be fatal.