Heartworm is a disease caused by long worms that live in the heart, lungs, and other blood vessels of pets. These heartworms can cause damage to many vital organs in the body.
It is important to protect pets against heartworm. In dogs if the disease goes undiagnosed the worms will continue to multiply causing lasting damage even after the parasites are gone. This is why prevention is the best option to keep pets healthy and safe. In cats worms do not survive into the adult stage where they can multiply like in dogs. However, they still pose a threat to cats as they can cause Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease. This disease cannot be treated like the adult worms in dogs can be so for cats prevention is the only option to protect against heartworm.
The signs your dog may show are a cough, fatigue, decreased appetite, weight loss. Those are the first signs of heartworm disease. As the disease progresses the signs include fluid in the abdomen which would appear to be a swollen belly, and heart failure. If the disease continues to progress other more serious signs will appear.