As loving and responsible pet parents, it’s important to keep your four-legged children healthy and safe. To maintain a healthy lifestyle for the canine family members, owners should make sure they fight off those pesky fleas and ticks by giving them their monthly meds.
It is also essential to make sure that their blood work is done on schedule so that health risks can be found early on before they become life-threatening. That is why it is essential to give them heartworm prevention treatment to protect them from ending up with a terrible infection.
What Is Heartworm Disease
Parasitic heartworms can be incredibly harmful to dogs but the disease is usually treatable with extensive treatment if caught early enough. Heartworm typically affects dogs that live near a sea or large freshwater body because this is where the mosquito larvae from which it is contracted live. However, it does not mean that if you live far away from water bodies or even in cold climates, your dog is 100% safe from heartworms.
Once infected through a mosquito bite, the larvae travel internally and eventually become full-grown worms living within the dog’s heart. Each worm expands as they need more space to grow and some can grow up to 12-inches in length.
The severity of the illness depends on how many worms enter the body and how quickly they reproduce. Even one is capable of causing severe health issues such as congestive heart failure, arrhythmias (problems with the beating of the heart), fluid accumulation around and in areas surrounding the heart, fainting, and breathing problems.
Treating heartworm infections is quite costly and risky, though it can be done. That is why it is better to use heartworm preventive medicines to avoid further complications and waste money on complicated treatments down the line. If you are wondering where to buy heartworm medicine, they are easily available at physical and online pet care stores.
Symptoms of Heartworm
Heartworms can live in a dog for up to seven years before causing any symptoms. So your dog may be living with heartworms and experiencing no symptoms – unless, of course, you see some swelling around their neck.
With that being said, some of the most common symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Fatigue after nominal physical activities
- Weight loss
- Mild cough
- Decreased food intake (appetite)
- Reluctance to physical activities
Heartworm Treatment for Dogs: An Inside-Out
A common myth with pets is that they don’t get sick. This can be a dangerous misconception because what you might not realize is that pets get ill too, and just like humans, it’s important to take precautions when it comes to their overall health by vaccinating them against diseases and worms.
The truth is that heartworm disease in dogs has been proven to be one of the most fatal parasitic infections for canines. It’s essential to start taking care of your dog from an early age, so we strongly advise you to contact your veterinarian post-haste if you want your furry friend to live a long healthy life.
Heartworm treatment in dogs gets rid of Adult heartworms within a few days, but complications can arise while their dead bodies are decomposing. It can take several weeks for the heartworms to reabsorb into your dog’s bloodstream.
Most post-treatment complications arise from the fragments of decomposing heartworms. So it is recommended that you keep your dog as quiet and at rest as possible for the first month following injection. It is best to restrict your dog to indoor activities only such as eating and sleeping.
Coughing may be noticeable during this time and may last up to eight weeks. If the coughing persists beyond this period or becomes more severe, or there are signs that your dog is having trouble breathing, has a fever, or is feeling lethargic, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Also Read – Dog Vomiting Treatment
How Heartworm Disease in Dogs Can Be Diagnosed
Dogs exhibit many symptoms, including coughing, lethargy, and weight loss. Heartworm disease can also come with symptoms like these. But it is important to note that the presence of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that your dog has heartworm disease.
The best way to test your dog for the disease is by having a simple blood sample taken from your pet at a veterinarian’s office. If any larvae or adult worms are found in your pet’s bloodstream, more tests are usually ordered which include confirmation via additional samples, X-rays, and an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart).
Treatment of heartworm infections is quite risky and it adds up to the financial burden. However, a canine may develop a heartworm infection anyway. In that case, pet owners should find out the preventive medications that are needed as soon as possible to avoid further complications.