Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It is caused by foot-long
worms (Heartworms) that live in the heart and lungs causing severe lung disease, heart
failure and damage to other organs in the body. According to the American Heartworm
Society (AHS), which conducts a nationwide incidence survey every three years,
Tennessee ranks #8 among the states with the highest rates of Heartworm-positive

Heartworms are transmitted via mosquitos. When a mosquito bites an animal infected
with Heartworms, and then bites another animal (e.g. your dog), the Heartworm larvae
are deposited onto the surface of the animal’s skin and enter the body through the bite.
It takes approximately six months for the larvae to develop into adult heartworms. Once
mature, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs. Because of the longevity of these
worms, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an
infected pet.

In the early stages of the disease, many dogs show few symptoms or no symptoms at
all. The longer the infection persists, the more likely symptoms will develop. Active
dogs, dogs heavily infected with heartworms, or those with other health problems often
show pronounced clinical signs.

Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to
exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As
heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a
swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen. Dogs with large numbers of
heartworms can develop a sudden blockage of blood flow within the heart leading to a
life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse. This is called Caval Syndrome, and is
marked by a sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, and dark bloody or
coffee-colored urine. Without prompt surgical removal of the heartworm blockage, few
dogs survive.

While no product can guarantee 100% protection, it is still extremely important for your
dog to be protected year-round from contracting potentially deadly Heartworms, as
treatment can be difficult on a dog and recovery is not guaranteed. In the event your pet
does test positive for heartworm, our clinic offers several treatment methods.

Our clinic offers several options for the prevention of Heartworms e.g. monthly oral
medications, monthly topical treatments, and long-lasting injections. For dogs one year
of age and older, an annual Heartworm test is required in order to dispense Heartworm
prevention. Puppies should be placed on a prevention program starting at 8 weeks of
age (depending on weight), and are eligible for their first Heartworm test at one year of
age. Please call our clinic to find out more about Heartworm testing, prevention and

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