If you own a Malamute or other breed of dog then you may be aware of heartworms and the dangers they can cause. Your vet can tell you that heartworm disease is caused by a foot-long worm that can invade the heart, lungs and blood vessels of your dog. This can cause lung disease and heart failure. Damages can last long after the heartworms have been killed off by medication. Symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs may include a persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue, decreased appetite and weight loss. In the early stages of the disease symptoms may not be present. The longer the infection persists; however, the more evident the symptoms will be. Experts say that active dogs, dogs heavily infected, and dogs with other health problems will show “pronounced” clinical signs including a swollen belly signaling heart failure. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms call your vet Livonia, MI right away.