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7 Ways To Know If Your Dog Has Heartworm

Heartworm is a serious parasite that dogs may develop through the transmission of a heartworm egg through a mosquito bite. Through prevention, it is highly unlikely that your beloved dog will become sick, but it is always important to be aware of the cause and signs of heartworm.


The main cause of heartworm is through an infected mosquito bite, where it transmits a heartworm egg it acquired from biting another infected animal.

The egg then develops into a tiny worm, which swims through the heart and bloodstream of the dog, growing for a period of six to seven months. The dog may end up with hundreds of worms, or just one, with them growing up to the length of 30cm.

Living in a warmer climate with a higher mosquito population may put your dog at an increased risk of developing heartworm, but the disease can be picked up anywhere around Australia.


It is crucial to be conscious of signs of heartworm in dogs. Unfortunately, symptoms may not show for months to even years after being first infected, meaning preventative measures are even more important.

Heartworm can lead to other health issues such as heart and lung disease, as well as the inflammation caused leading to kidney failure.

The most common symptoms of heartworm are:

  • Collapse/fainting
    As the worms get bigger and/or multiply, they begin to block the bloodstream of the dog, making it more susceptible to fainting. This is an extremely dangerous symptom, and means the dog needs immediate surgery
  • Trouble breathing
    The worms can infect the lung through the bloodstream, allowing the lung’s blood vessels to retain liquid and impacting a dog’s ability to breathe
  • Weight loss/lack of appetite
    Due to the increased difficulty in eating due to advanced heartworm development, it is harder for a dog to put on and keep a healthy weight
  • Lethargy and loss of energy when exercising

As the blood struggles to pump around the body, and as the lung function of the dog begins to decline, it can make it more tired than usual and exercise for less time than usual

  • Coughing

Once the parasite worms its way into the dog’s lungs, it can cause the dog to exhibit a dry cough, especially after any physical activity

  • Swollen chest
    A bulging, swollen chest is another indicator of heartworm, with this symptom developing through weight loss and fluid build-up in and around the heart
  • Increased thirst - due to kidney disease
    Kidney disease can develop after heartworm due to the general inflammation of the surrounding tissue, making the dog more thirsty than usual

Prevention and Treatment

Once heartworm is in later stages of development, surgical treatments become more invasive, more dangerous, and more expensive.

Checking for heartworm and other parasites at your regular vet check-up is critical in catching the disease early, as well as for the well-being of your dog.

Prevention is the best treatment for heartworm and other parasites, which is why Pet Lovers Club is the best way to keep your beloved fluffy family member safe from this disease, as well as other common parasites.

Pet Lovers Club is a monthly subscription that sends the parasite protection you need for your pet’s needs, to your house, stress free.

The preventative mediation is tailored to your pet’s needs, including age, weight, as well as where you live, to ensure your pet is given relevant protection.

Pet Lovers Club is an affordable option for those wanting to take the extra step of care for their pet, with the first month of membership on offer for $5.

Heartworm can be a serious health issue for dogs, but if you keep them protected with the help of Pet Lovers Club, your pooch will be safeguarded for years to come.

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