In our last blog, our veterinarian in North Merrick debunked a few of the most common myths about heartworms. To recap, we’ve already talked about the myth that heartworm disease only affects dogs in the south, the myth that heartworm disease is only a problem in the spring and fall and the myth that vaccinated dogs are already protected against heartworm disease. The following is a few more dangerous and common myths about heartworm disease:
Myth #4 – A dog can catch heartworm disease from another dog.
Heartworm disease can’t be transmitted between dogs, and the only way for a dog to get it is through a mosquito.
Myth #5 – The symptoms of heartworm disease are obvious and easy to spot.
Heartworm disease is so dangerous because the clinical signs don’t become evident until the disease has already reached its later stages. It generally takes about 6 months for the heartworm larvae to travel to a dog’s lungs and heart, at which point symptoms like, weight loss, difficulty breathing and coughing, will start to occur.
Myth #6 – Heartworm disease isn’t usually fatal.
If left untreated, a single heartworm can quickly multiply up to 100 times, and each one of those heartworms can grow to approximately 12 inches long. These heartworms can limit a dog’s ability to breath and block their blood flow. Dogs, just like people, can’t live without adequate oxygen or blood flow.
Myth #7 – Heartworm disease is easily treated.
Heartworm disease is risky, traumatic and very expensive to treat. To treat heartworms, dogs are injected with an arsenic-based medication that is designed to kill the heartworms that are in the dog’s heart and lungs. Heartworm disease is much easier to prevent than it is to treat.