Heartworms are parasites that can infect a dog if they are bitten by an infected mosquito. The parasite then takes up residence in their heart and starts spreading exponentially.
The heartworm infection behaves like cancer where the diseased tissue multiplies and spreads throughout the dog’s body. Just like cancer, heartworm also spreads rapidly and damages vital organs, which leads to death in fatal cases.
What Is Heartworm Disease And How Dogs Get It
Heartworms can be as thin as a thread and can grow up to three feet long. They burrow inside the dog’s heart with their tube-like bodies and cause direct damage to the organ and the surrounding tissues. They block the blood vessels that get in the way of the delivery of oxygen and nutrients, causing severe damages to the cardiovascular system.
This disease can be deadly if left untreated. Dogs who have contracted heartworms must be hospitalized and given Typhlomide and other drugs to get the worms out of their system.
It might sound like the plot of a sci-fi movie, but in reality, it’s quite the opposite. By acquiring heartworm disease, dogs can experience a whole host of negative symptoms including increased coughing, lethargy, and vomiting.
Once these microscopic creatures enter a dog’s body, they start developing and growing in their bloodstream. Though you may not know how to tell if your dog has been infected, it’s important to keep an eye out for any initial symptoms that stay consistent over time.
The only way to stop your dog from getting heartworm is by using one of the preventive measures usually prescribed by veterinary doctors. So make sure that your dog has a preventive routine to ensure that heartworm does not find its way into their system.
Usual Symptoms Of Heartworm In Dogs
Heartworms can live in a dog for up to seven years before causing any symptoms. But you may be able to spot some signs that are common to the disease.
The larvae can live inside of your dog unnoticed. But there are a few signs that may help the parent notice its existence. These include coughing and difficulty breathing due to lung complications, swollen joints, and skin rashes.
Note: If your dog has a swollen neck gland – they could potentially have heartworm or a milder case of the disease.
Some other prominent symptoms of heartworm include –
- Difficulty in breathing
- Weight loss
- Reduced lethargy
Heartworm Disease: The Prevention
As our furry friend’s parents, feeding them the best food to maintain their well-being is just like cooking delicious meals. We all want our food to be moist and flavorful but we know it’s not possible without the ingredients.
As a pet parent, you need quality nutrition for your dog. But it’s not always easy finding foods that are right for them. And even if it was, there are so many different choices that can make things very confusing.
Heartworm preventatives will help your dog avoid getting heartworm. If left untreated, it may cause severe damage and even death! Preventive medications like chewable heartworm medicine for dogs are administered monthly.
Talk to your veterinarian about whether it’s a good idea for you to use preventative medications year-round or just seasonally. It varies from dog to dog – based on the region.
You might be curious about the ingredients in the medicine your dog takes for heartworm. It contains milbemycin oxime and praziquantel, which work together to suppress the larvae present in the bloodstream of the pup’s body.
There are three different types of medicines for dogs: chewable, topicals (which are applied to the skin), and injections. The most effective are oral medications or chewable tablets that are administered monthly or seasonally.
Risks Associated With The Chewables
Using drugs for animals always comes with certain risks and side effects. The common side effects might include a lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and possibly other uncomfortable sensations.
Some adverse reactions have also been identified in dogs who were on heartworm medications, such as tremors and seizures. These may be the result of too high a dose of the medicine or an allergy to the ingredients involved. That is why is wise to always check with a veterinarian before administering preventive medications to your dog.
Note: Severe conditions can cause death, but such reactions are rare when following the instructions on how to use the medicines correctly.