Heartworm Disease - What you should Know!

posted: by: Rachel, LVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Heartworm Disease in Dogs

What is heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease caused by parasitic worms living in the major blood vessels of the lungs and occasionally in the heart. These worms are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The scientific name of Heartworm is Dirofilaria immitus.

Heartworm disease can cause many medical problems affecting the lungs, heart, liver and/or kidneys and can lead to death. Effective treatment is available but can be very costly and be a long complicated process.

Heartworm disease is almost 100% peventable, yet the American Heart Society estimates that 1 million dogs in the U.S. are infected with the disease and the numbers keep rising.

Signs of Heartworm Disease

Some dogs show no clinical signs at first but depending on the number of worms and the duration of infection you may begin to notice these signs in your dog:
*Persistant coughing
*Lethargy (tiredness)
*Difficulty in exercising
*Loss of appetite and weight loss

Diagnosis and Treatment

Heartworm disease can be diagnosed by viewing the microfilaria (worms) in the blood under a microscope or by other laboratory testing.

If the infection is detected early enough, it can be treated before it causes permanent damage to the heart, lungs and blood vessels. The risk of complications increase as the duration of infection increases.

Treatment can be very expensive and complicated and dogs may take month to recover. In serious cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

If left untreated, Heartworm disease can be fatal.



Effective medications are available to prevent heartworm disease and are safer and easy-to-use.

Herkimer Veterinary Associates recommends using one of the following products:
Tri-Heart (Ivermectin/Pyrantel) - this is a flavored chewable tablet you give to your dog once monthly for life to prevent heartworm disease
Heartgard (Ivermectin/Pyrantel) - this is another flavored chewable you give your dog once monthly for life to prevent heartworm disease
(The difference between the two are a soft flavor tablet (tri-heart) and a crunchy flavor tablet (heartgard))
Revolution (Selamectin) - This is a liquid topical applied monthly between the shoulder blades to prevent heartworm disease and fleas!

Simple Prevention can save your dogs life.


If your dog has not been to our vet within the past year and had a NEGATIVE 4dx heartworm test, this must be done before starting prevention.
Once prevention is started, annual or biannual 4dx heartworm tests will be run to ensure the product is working properly and is required by The Heartworm Society to continue treatment.


Please visit our online store to learn more about preventatives.
Click Here
Also feel free to call our office at (315)-866-9999 with further questions.