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Heartworm disease is a serious infliction that can be fatal in dogs. A heartworm is a slender white worm about four to twelve inches long. A dog contracts heartworms through female mosquitoes that inject the heartworm into the dog's skin. The larvae then mature and make their way through the dog's arteries and to his heart. If only a few worms are present, the dog will not suffer any symptoms. However, enough heartworms will cause heart failure and death in a dog if it is not treated. Symptoms include weight loss, coughing, difficulty breathing, and fatigue.
Your veterinarian can prescribe the appropriate medication to treat your dog if he has heartworm disease. As a preventative measure, you can give your canine monthly heartworm medication if you live in an area where your dog is at risk.
You can find more details about this disease from the American Heartworm Society site at www.heartwormsociety.org/