It’s the height of summer. And, like most folks, you might be headed up to cottage country or roughing it on a campsite with your pooch. But with the warm summer nights comes a potential threat – mosquitoes. And these little buggers pack more than just an itchy bite. They can also carry Heartworm Disease.

Heartworm Disease is a potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the heart and pulmonary arteries of mammals, including dogs. The disease is not spread directly from dog to dog, rather it’s carried by the mosquito. So it’s not surprising that the spread of this disease coincides with the mosquito season.

Dogs infected with heartworms can live for several years before manifesting any symptoms. However, the most obvious indicators are cough, exercise intolerance, abnormal lung sounds, difficulty breathing, enlargement of the liver, fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity, and abnormal heart sounds.

The good news is that most dogs can be successfully treated for heartworms if the disease is detected early through a regular heartworm test. If you suspect your dog may have heartworms, seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian immediately.

It’s possible to prevent the disease with heartworm medicine for dogs. These drugs are administered monthly during mosquito season. Preventive drugs are highly effective and, when regularly administered, will protect more than 99 percent of dogs from infection. As always, we strongly recommend that dog owners talk to their vet before utilizing any heartworm medication or treatment.