Did you know that a mosquito bite can be potentially deadly for your dog? In fact, just one mosquito bite can transmit heartworm disease to your dog. There are about 70 different types of mosquitoes that carry the heartworm disease. Just one bite can proof fatal for your dogs. While the danger is most prevalent for dogs that live outdoors, even indoor dogs can contract the disease. Take a look at how the disease is spread, and the symptoms you should be aware of.
How Heartworm Disease is transmitted
Heartworm disease is carried by infected mosquitoes. Here's how the disease progresses.
First Mosquito Bite
Before the mosquito can infect your dog, it must first bite a dog that already has the disease. Once the mosquito has ingested the microscopic heartworm larvae, it carries them until they reach the infective stage.
Your Dog Gets Bit
As soon as your dog gets bit, the mosquito transmits the infective larvae into its body. The larvae then travel through your dog's bloodstream until they reach its' heart and pulmonary arteries.
The Heartworm Grows
Once the heartworm larvae reach the pulmonary arteries and heart, they begin to grow. These aren't small worms either. In fact, a mature heartworm can reach about a foot in length. Once a heartworm becomes that large, it is usually causes irreparable damage to the heart.
The Symptoms of Heartworm Disease
Unfortunately, you can't tell right away that your dog has been bitten by an infected mosquito. That means you have to know what the symptoms are. Here's what you'll need to look for.
All dogs cough from time to time, so don't panic just because your dog has coughed a few times. However, if your dog begins coughing uncontrollably or coughs up blood, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Healthy dogs have a nice pink tinge to their skin color. Dogs that have been infected with heartworm disease develop a distinct discoloration. If your dog develops a bluish or purplish skin discoloration, you shouldn't wait for other symptoms. Take your dog to the vet immediately.
If your previously healthy dog is suffering from labored breathing or is too weak to move, it's time to take it to the vet. Once the heartworm begins to grow, it can constrict the heart, making it difficult for your dog to breathe.
Heartworm disease can be extremely dangerous. If your dog spends time outside, you need to be aware of the causes and symptoms of heartworm disease. If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.\
Talk to experts like Animal Medical Center for more information.