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What is Heartworm?

As the name suggests, Heartworm is a serious and potentially deadly disease characterised by large, parasitic worms.

In dogs, adult Heartworms can grow up to 30cm in length, blocking the arteries leading to the lungs and infesting the heart. As a result, the heart is forced to pump extra hard to keep blood flowing, which can lead to heart failure. The disease can also severely damage other parts of the body, such as the liver and kidneys. It affects many types of animals, including domestic and feral dogs and cats, dingoes, foxes and ferrets.


Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes. Just one bite could infect your pet. At least 60 species of mosquitoes transmit heartworm disease – when they bite an infected animal, they suck blood filled with infant worms, which then develop inside the mosquito. When an infected mosquito bites another animal, your dog, if infects the animal with Heartworm larvae that develop and grow inside the dog eventually reaching the heart and lungs.

is my dog at risk?

Just one mosquito bite is all it takes to infect your pet, even if Heartworm doesn’t seem to be a problem in your local area. Heartworm is more common in warmer climates but it has spread to all states in Australia.

If a mosquito bites an infected animal, then bites your pet, your pet is at risk of infection and death. As each new animal gets infected, the risk of Heartworm grows.

Actual images of a Heartworm infected canine heart are pretty confronting. We don’t want to scare you so we’ve hidden them. To reveal the image click on the button but don’t say we didn’t warn you!

What Can I do to protect my dog from heartworm?

Rather than risk heartworm infection and it’s traumatising treatment, it is highly recommended to protect your pet with preventative treatment.

A simple annual injection can protect your dog from Heartworm.

Yes  monthly treatments are available however a recent study has shown that 40% of dogs that tested positive for Heartworm were actually on an owner given monthly treatment. The reason? It’s just too easy to forget a dose and it only takes one missed dose to leave your dog unprotected and vulnerable. For that reason we recommend dogs receive an annual injection.

Book your FREE Heartworm Test at a participating clinic and protect your dog from Heartworm today!

What are the symptoms of Heartworm?

You usually don’t see any symptoms until the infection has advanced however common symptoms are: 

  • a dry, chronic cough
  • lethargy, fainting
  • weight loss
  • breathing problems
  • difficulty with exercise
  • ascites (where the abdomen swells up due to fluid build-up because the heart cannot pump normally)
What happens if my dog gets heartworm

Your vet can test for heartworm in dogs however blood tests will not detect infection until the worms have matured into adults, about six months after the initial infection. 

Can Heartworm be treated?

It’s possible to treat heartworm in dogs, provided the disease has not already caused significant damage to the major organs. If you have to treat heartworm, your dog will require care for quite some time. Treatment is expensive and difficult, often requires hospitalisation, and may require harsh drugs to kill the adult heartworms. Some dogs don’t survive the process. After treatment, your dog may remain at risk due to dead worms blocking blood flow through the lungs.


Take advantage of our FREE HEARTWORM TEST available at participating clinics until Friday 12 April 2019. A simple 10 minute blood test can idenitify if your dog has Heartworm.

To qualify for the test:

  • Your dog must be over 6 months of age.
  • Not on Heartworm medication.
  • Lapsed (injection or tablet) Heartworm medication.
  • You must agree to a Heartworm injection if the test shows a negative result.

*Free Heartworm Test offer valid from 14 February 2019 until 12 April 2019 at the following participating clinics only: Kyabram Veterinary Clinic, Nathalia Veterinary Clinic, Fur Life Vet Epsom, Fur Life Vet Golden Square, Passionate Pet Care Bendigo, Finley Veterinary Clinic, Echuca Veterinary Clinic, Moama Veterinary Clinic, Deniliquin Veterinary Clinic and Border Veterinary Clinics as listed above. To receive the free Heartworm test you must agree to your dog having an annual Heartworm prevention injection during the Free Test consultation should the test prove negative for Heartworm.