What is a heartworm?
The heartworm is a large worm, up to 14 inches long, that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected animal. Dogs and other canines, such as coyotes, are the natural hosts, but cats can become infected as well.
Can a heartworm infection lead to death?
Yes! Heartworm infection can lead to heart failure or sudden death in canines. Coughing and exercise intolerance are common signs of this disease, but these symptoms often take years to develop as their heart problems slowly and quietly worsen.
Other pets can die very suddenly with no prior evidence of any problems. This disease is mostly avoidable with a monthly heartworm preventative. Unfortunately, we still treat many dogs for heartworms and the numbers are actually rising.