One mosquito bite is all it takes for your dog to get heartworm. Heartworm is a parasite that lives in the heart tissue of dogs. Adult worms can become long and tangled like strands of spaghetti.
The jumble of worms in the heart tissue can block arteries, reducing blood flow while making the heart work harder.
In severe cases of heartworm infection, dogs can die from congestive heart failure.
It is possible to treat for heartworm but the best medicine is prevention. There are many options for preventive maintenance in the form of prescription drugs for dogs.
The best part about heartworm medicine is that it usually also treats intestinal parasites.
Veterinarians recommend monthly heartworm pills. However, before your vet can prescribe the medicine, your dog must be tested for heartworms.
A heartworm test is required because administering heartworm medicine to a heartworm positive dog could be deadly. Under ordinary circumstances, you should have your dog tested once annually, provided you maintain strict adherence to giving your dog his monthly medicine. Failure to do so could be dangerous.
All it takes is one bite from a mosquito. A missed dose could mean exposure to heartworm.