Heartworm in Dogs

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally in the heart of dogs. Transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, heartworm in dogs can lead to severe lung disease, heart failure, and other organ damage. At Whitney Veterinary Hospital in Peoria, IL, we stress the importance of proactive prevention, and we’re here to provide essential information about how you can protect your beloved dog from this dangerous parasite.




The Lifecycle of Heartworms

Understanding the lifecycle of heartworms is crucial for effective prevention. The process begins when a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae bites a dog. These larvae then migrate through the dog’s body, maturing into adults and eventually reproducing within the lungs and heart. This cycle can take as little as six months and without treatment, can severely impact your dog’s health.

The Risks and Symptoms of Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease can be stealthy, often showing no early symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, dogs may exhibit signs such as:

  • A mild persistent cough
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Fatigue after moderate activity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss

As the disease advances, symptoms can become more severe, including a swollen belly due to excess fluid, heart failure, and damage to other organs.

Detecting Heartworm Disease

Early detection is vital for effective treatment. At Whitney Veterinary Hospital, we use advanced diagnostics to detect heartworm infections. Regular screenings, typically during routine check-ups, are essential, particularly for dogs at higher risk or those who have missed their preventative treatments.

Preventing Heartworm Disease with ProHeart 12

At Whitney Veterinary Hospital, we recommend ProHeart 12, an innovative once-a-year injection that offers hassle-free, year-round protection against heartworm disease. ProHeart 12 ensures your dog is continuously protected without the need to remember monthly treatments, providing peace of mind along with top-notch care.

The Benefits of ProHeart 12

ProHeart 12 not only simplifies heartworm prevention but also ensures consistent, reliable protection for a full year. This once-yearly treatment eliminates the risk of forgetting a dose, which can happen with monthly medications, thereby closing any gaps in your dog’s heartworm prevention regimen.

The Importance of Year-Round Prevention

In Peoria, IL, heartworm transmission can occur throughout various seasons, making year-round prevention critical. With changing weather patterns and the presence of mosquitoes nearly year-round, it’s not advisable to skip heartworm prevention in colder months.

Tailored Heartworm Prevention Plans

Each dog is unique, and at Whitney Veterinary Hospital, we provide tailored prevention plans to suit the specific needs of your pet. Factors such as your dog’s environment, lifestyle, and health are considered when recommending the best heartworm prevention strategy.

What to Do If Your Dog Is Diagnosed with Heartworm

If your dog tests positive for heartworms, it’s crucial to start treatment promptly. Treatment may involve several steps, including stabilization of your dog’s condition, administration of medications to kill adult and juvenile worms, and close monitoring throughout the recovery process.

Supporting Your Dog During Treatment

Heartworm treatment can be challenging for both dogs and their owners. We provide guidance on minimizing your dog’s physical exertion during this period, as well as how to manage any side effects from treatment. Your support and care at home are integral to your dog’s recovery.

Contact Whitney Veterinary Hospital

For residents of Peoria and the surrounding areas, Whitney Veterinary Hospital is your trusted partner in preventing and treating heartworm in dogs. Don’t wait until it’s too late—proactive prevention is key to keeping your dog healthy and happy. Call us today at (309) 685-4707 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about how ProHeart 12 can protect your dog from heartworm disease. Your pet’s health is our top priority, and with ProHeart 12, you can ensure they are protected year-round with just one simple treatment.