Owning a dog is one of the most fun, rewarding experiences we can have. Puppies are amazing, training is a hilarious process, and a grown-up best friend doggy is one of life's precious gifts. The thing is, sometimes just going on walks and being in nature exposes dogs to other animals, insects, and environments that could be harboring something that will make them sick. We want the best for our pets, so it's important to know what types of parasites, ailments, and infections we might be facing together during their lifetime. This way, we can be prepared and ensure a healthier and happier experience for our pets!
Heartworm is one of the most common worries of veterinarians and dog owners alike, but it is completely preventable. It's pretty common for most dogs in the United States to take medication to ward off the disease, which is caused by being bitten by an infected mosquito and does not transmit to humans. The medication, which is either a monthly pill, monthly topical or bi-annual injection, is inexpensive and much cheaper than treating and curing heartworm itself. Once bitten (and again, heartworm cannot be passed from dog to dog), the worm's larvae will grow inside the dog and potentially develop into hundreds of worms in about six months. These worms can be several inches long and can live up to five to seven years. Imagine the space that would take up inside a dog! It inevitably has serious health consequences and will eventually become fatal. If your dog does become infected, treatment is available in the form of x-rays, blood and lab work, and several series of injections based on the infection's severity.