The heat of summer can bring out the worst in a lot of things, especially within nature. Mosquitoes begin to swarm and their larvae lie waiting in pools of standing water. With your Labrador being outside, the chances of it contracting heartworms skyrocket in the summer months causing a huge risk in Labrador health.
Heartworms are very dangerous parasites that are spread by mosquitoes. The female mosquito bites the dog where the hair/coat is thinnest (however, having long hair does not prevent a dog from getting heartworms) and deposits infectious larvae into your dog’s bloodstream. They move to the arteries of the lungs and to the heart and adjacent vessels where they grow for six months and start reproducing. This puts a great pressure on your Labradors internal organs causing difficulty breathing. Sadly, a dog without treatment can die from a heartworm infestation.
Prevention is the key when it comes to heartworms and Labrador health. Because heartworm disease is preventable, Labrador owners should talk to their veterinarian about how to best protect their pets from this dangerous and potentially fatal disease. Heartworm prevention is easy, safe and not too expensive.
There are a variety of options available to Labrador owners for preventing heartworm infection. These include daily and monthly tablets or chewables, a monthly topical liquid and a six-month preventative injection. Each of these methods are extremely effective when administered properly on a timely schedule. These medications interrupt heartworm development before adult worms reach the lungs and cause disease. Please remember: It is your responsibility to faithfully maintain the prevention program you have selected in consultation with your veterinarian. You must keep on the ball with all prescribed medications for your pet to insure the best possible Labrador health.
If you are worried that your Labrador may have contracted heartworm disease, there are a few ways to make a definite diagnosis. Heartworm infection in obviously healthy Labradors is usually detected with blood tests for a heartworm substance called an antigen or microfilariae. Although neither test is positive until about seven months after infection has occurred, your Labrador will still have a chance of survival.
While treatment for heartworm disease in Labradors is possible, it is a complicated and expensive process and takes weeks for infected animals to recover. Preventative measures as prescribed by your veterinarian is the easiest and most definitive way to keep a good track on Labrador health.