How Likely Is It That a Yorkshire Terrier Will Get Heartworm?

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Infected mosquitoes spread canine heartworm disease. Heartworms are most commonly found in dogs and other canids like foxes, wolves, and coyotes; however, they can also infect cats and ferrets. Many Yorkie owners wonder, “how likely is it that a Yorkshire Terrier will get heartworm?”

How Likely Is It That a Yorkshire Terrier Will Get Heartworm?

Heartworms are unlikely to infect a Yorkshire terrier. It may take several years for Yorkies to develop signs of heartworm infection. Heartworms take five to eight months to mature and are commonly identified in dogs between two and nine.

Yorkshire terrier having fun in grass

However, this does not mean that your Yorkie cannot get heartworms.

If you live in an area where mosquitoes are common, chances of heartworm disease for your dog are high, so you should talk to your veterinarian about the best prevention options. The worst-case scenario ends in a deadly worm infestation in an afflicted dog’s heart and blood vessels.

Signs and Symptoms of Heartworms in Yorkies

Heartworm symptoms in dogs divide in four stages. Various stages aren’t always easy to distinguish, and some may spill into one another. Still, the following information will help you learn about the four primary stages of heartworm infection, as well as their associated heartworm symptoms.

Every year, around 250,000 dogs are diagnosed with heartworm infection and your cute energetic Yorkie might be one of it. The four clinical phases of heartworm start once your dog has been infected with heartworms and the heartworms have been found in the dog’s heart:

Stage 1

In dogs, the initial stage of heartworm infection is usually asymptomatic. Heartworms are present and settle inside the heart at this period.

However, in stage one, the infection has not advanced to the point where the heartworms have developed a new generation of microfilariae. The dog’s body has produced antigens in sufficient amounts to detect.

Stage 2

Here, heartworms in dogs cause moderate symptoms such as reluctance to activity and a cough that lasts longer. The heartworms have been resident in the body long enough to produce antibodies and possibly microfilariae. During this time, blood tests may use to diagnose heartworm disease.

Two little Yorkshire terriers enjoying photoshoot

Stage 3

Heartworms in dogs reach stage three when the symptoms are pronounced and have a significant influence on your dog’s health. Coughing and exhaustion persist after exercise, and dogs may be hesitant to exercise at all where your Yorkie usually needs moderate exercise. They may also have breathing problems.

Dogs may also cough up blood at this point. The illness is visible on x-rays by stage three. The worms in the heart and major vessels will be seen.

Stage 4

The symptoms of heartworm illness in dogs in stage four are pretty noticeable. Long-term health consequences for the dog are bound and these dogs are in critical condition. More severe stage 3 symptoms are present. They include;

  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Fatigue
  • Regular Coughs
  • Breathing problems
  • Abnormal sounds in the dog’s heart and lungs
  • Enlarged liver

Even with treatment, there is a considerable risk of long-term debilitation and mortality at this stage of the disease.

The number of worms present in a dog’s body, the time of incubation, and the response of the sick dog in fighting off the infestation all have a role in the severity of heartworms in dogs.

How to Treat Heartworms in Yorkies

These steps will assist you in treating your Yorkie if infected with heartworms:

  1. Confirm the diagnosis: Because treatment is costly and complicated, your veterinarian may order additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.
  2. Restriction of regular activity: Although restricting normal movement, especially in Yorkies, is challenging, it is critical. Exercising accelerates the deterioration of the heart and lungs, so you may skip basic training for your dog. Your dog may require crate confinement.
  3. Stabilize the disease: Preliminary therapy may need if your dog ever has advanced symptoms or other medical problems.
  4. Kill worms: Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Melarsomine dihydrochloride for treatment in the United States. It gives to dog via a deep intramuscular injection into the lumbar region of the lower back.
  5. Surgery: In severe cases, vets may resort to surgery to surgically remove the worms.
  6. Follow-up testing: After successful therapy, you should do the first test six months later.
Two Yorkshire terriers wearing clothes

Related Questions

Do Indoor Dogs Need Heartworm Prevention?

Yes, All dog breeds, even if deemed “indoors-only,” should be on heartworm preventive medicine. People should not assume that their dogs are safe from heartworms because they stay indoors.

Does Heartworm Shorten a Dog’s Life?

Yes, although heartworm treatments do not kill the worms, they do shorten their lives. Keep in mind that the average heartworm may live for six years. Consequently, he or she can still have a heartworm infection for another four years.



Heartworm is a condition that you can help your Yorkie avoid. There’s no need for your dog to get heartworm disease when it’s so easy to avoid, prevent it, and it will not spread to your other dog or getting along with your cat when playing with your Yorkshire terrier.

Please make an appointment as soon as possible if your dog is not currently on a veterinarian-recommended heartworm prevention medication.