A heartworm infestation inside your dog's body can lead to sickness and even death. When it comes to heartworms the best treatment is prevention. Our veterinarians at Westside Veterinary Center in New York City will make heartworm prevention a regular component of your pet's wellness journey. We are an animal hospital on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with a team of veterinarians dedicated to keeping your pet happy and healthy.
What is a Heartworm Infestation?
The first stage of heartworm begins when a mosquito bites your pet and transmits the parasitic worm Dirofilaria immitis into your dog's body. The parasite travels through the pet's bloodstream reproducing and growing into parasites that resemble strands of spaghetti. They are referred to as heartworms because they live in the lungs, the heart, and blood vessels.
What Happens to a Dog Who Has Heartworms?
Heartworm Disease is measured in four different classes or stages. Stage 1 is the mildest and Stage 4 is the worst.
- Stage 1: Pet is asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. The dog may be bothered by a cough.
- Stage 2: Symptoms are considered mild to moderate. The dog may have a cough and tire easily after limited activity.
- Stage 3: The symptoms are more severe. The dog may look sickly and have trouble breathing or even heart failure. A veterinarian will use chest x-rays to monitor changes in the heart and lungs.
- Stage 4: This is the worst stage where a large number of worms in the dog's body, known as the worm burden, may cause life-threatening circulation problems.
Steps of Heartworm Prevention
Veterinarians test puppies for the presence of heartworms in their bloodstream before beginning a regimen of heartworm prevention. Heartworm medication is available in chewable, swallowable, topical, and injectable forms. Some formulations can also protect a dog against other pests like fleas and ticks. We recommend annual pet exams that test for heartworms. It can be dangerous to give an infected dog heartworm medication as suddenly killing heartworm parasites can cause adverse reactions in the infected dog’s body.
Heartworm Prevention on the Upper West Side of Manhattan
Westside Veterinary Center is a full-service animal hospital located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. Our team provides comprehensive wellness care that includes pet exams with heartworm screening and prescriptions for heartworm prevention. No dog should have to suffer from heartworm when prevention is readily available. Call our office or request an appointment online today.