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When you bring dogs into your lives you tend to find that life changes for the better. While you take them for walks, play with them, and care for them, you find that they are, in turn, taking care of you in a more spiritual way. Since they love you so much, it's only natural that you give them the love they deserve for putting up with you. The best way of showing them just how much you care about them is by taking measures to ensure their health. The best way is to make sure that your dog is heartworm free.
Heartworms are a parasitic worm infection that shows up most commonly in dogs, although some cats can catch it and, on extremely rare occasions, a human can catch it as well. Heartworms live inside your dog's heart, lungs, and arteries and, with a lifespan of six to seven months, can cause an extreme amount of damage to those vital organs. Dogs catch this violent little worm infestation from mosquitos. When an infected mosquito bites a dog, these heartworm larvae are planted on the dog's coat. The larvae then burrow their way into your dog's skin and start to grow.
Some heartworms have been found to be up to a foot long and, once inside your dog, they will begin to reproduce, causing issues for the dog for many years, including circulation problems and a deep cough that the dog can't shake off. One of the biggest issues with heartworms is that they can live in your dog for a very long time before you are even aware of them. If you start to notice your dog losing its appetite, sever weight loss, no energy, deep breathing or coughing, there is a good possibility that your dog has heartworms.
The best thing you can do to help prevent your dog from contracting these foul parasites is to have him or her regularly checked by your vet. Most vets will do a heartworm test with a regular visit and you can purchase preventative heartworm pills that will help keep your dog from getting them in the first place. You can also make sure that there's no standing water around your house that will attract mosquitos. Doing all of this on a regular basis will almost guarantee that your dog doesn't get infected with heartworms and keep him or her healthy for a very long time.