Heartworms In Dogs

If you’re in the United States, especially along the Mississippi River and its branches, and near the coasts, there is a high prevalence of heartworms in dogs. Early in the spring, when the temperature approaches 600F, it is crucial to have a veterinarian test your dog for heartworms. This is the time when several types of mosquitoes carry a tiny early stage form of the heartworm, which causes this disease. Early detection is critical, if your dog has contracted this fatal disease. If he does have it, if diagnosed and treated in time by the vet, he can be cured.

What is a dog’s heartworm?

Dog heartworm is another one of the awful diseases in dogs, and is transmitted by various species of mosquitoes. Prevention is difficult if your dog is outdoors often. It is a roundworm that first lives under the skin where the infected mosquito bit him after the first two life stages happen while still in the host mosquito. In the third and fourth larval stages the heartworm thrives in your dog’s tissues and muscles, weakening him severely. Your pet will be lethargic, and in pain. That’s just another reason to get him checked early in the spring for this terrible infection. For the first several weeks as the host of these dreadful worms, your dog will show no sign that there is anything wrong.  Once the population hits a certain high threshold, though, the adults migrate home in your dog’s heart and lungs.  He will no longer be the playful canine that you used to play with outdoors.

Heartworms in dogs impede blood flow

Once inside your dog, the heartworms molt as adult worms, and move to the large blood vessels by way of the blood stream.   As adults they settle into your dog’s heart and lungs.  Eventually, there are a huge number of worms, and they hinder blood flow and heart function.  Once the fast reproducing population hits a certain number, the poor canine succumbs and dies.

Treatment of heartworms

If diagnosed, your dog can be saved, even if there’s a large population of the heartworm. If it is advanced, however, there will have to be more care and caution taken. The vet will have to administer a medicine containing a small amount of an arsenic compound, or use one of the new medicines on the market.  Your dog will have to take it a couple times a day, for two days, and also must be kept sedentary. If he’s active, the adult heartworms in dogs will be forced into his lungs, which will prove lethal. After a week, the adult worms will be eradicated. The vet will first test for the worm, and if eradicated, the vet will then have to treat your pet for the microfilariae. He will be given a dose of the med twice per day for a week. Another blood exam will be given. If any are still present, the med treatment will continue. It’s seldom that it occurs, but surgery may be needed to finish killing these highly dangerous heart worms.

The symptoms of the disease are not seen right away. But, once these dreaded worms slow his blood flow, there will be symptoms.  Ultimately, the adult worms  cause him to have breathe poorly,  he will cough, be slow moving, and totally lose his appetite.  Remember, if diagnosed early, heartworms in dogs can be cured. Stop these microfilariae worms from damaging your dog’s heart and giving you a heartbreak.  There may be dog health insurance available for his proper health care.