Dog Heartworm Symptoms

There are many diseases that affect dogs and dog heartworm disease is one of them! Knowing dog heartworm symptoms will help your seek treatment for your pet on time. So here is everything you need to know about dog heartworms.
| Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Dog heartworm is a disease that not only causes the dog immense pain and discomfort but may also prove fatal if not treated on time. Linda had no idea about this when she found her dog coughing and tired one day. She put her little pet on her lap and stroked its fur trying hard to give the little dog some rest. As soon as the morning dawned she found that it hadn’t even eaten anything and that is when she rushed her furry little friend to the vet. Today Linda is enjoying quality time with her pet and that’s only because she acted on time!

What is Dog Heartworm?

Dirofilaria immitis, commonly known as heartworm are parasitic roundworms that are often found residing in the right chamber of a dog’s heart as well as the two major blood vessels. This parasite prevents the heart from functioning properly since it causes blockage in the blood vessels. This disease is caused by mosquitoes that transfer the infection into the dog’s body by biting the dog. When this happens the larval migrates to the heart and after about six months it matures into an adult female heartworm. As and when the female heartworm lays live young microfilaria they circulate into the blood vessels thus leading to the blockage of blood flow.

Symptoms of Dog Heartworm

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Fainting Spells
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Retention of Fluid (in the area around the chest)
  • Dry Coat
  • Jaundice
  • Rapid Pulse Rate
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Enlarged Liver
  • Dryness of the Coat
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Treatment of Dog Heartworm

Dog heartworm can be treated if diagnosed on time, so if your furry friend is not feeling well it is advisable to take it to the vet on time. There are different stages of dog heartworm disease so each stage requires a unique treatment that ranges from injections to even surgery. The most common injections used to treat heartworms in dogs are immiticide. These types of injections are chemically toxic and thus present some risks.

Once the treatment is administered it is important that the dog stay away from exercise for at least six weeks since the death of the heartworms can result in the clogging up of arteries. Do remember that dog heartworm is a non infectious disease and that you or other pets in your house aren’t at a risk of being infected.

Prevention of Dog Heartworm

Science today has come a long way because of which most diseases can be treated effectively. Dog heartworm can also be prevented using drugs that are available today. These drugs attack the parasite at an early stage thus preventing them from turning into adults. In this scenario your dog will not be completely free from infection but it will help the infection from turning into something more complicated. If you plan to medicate your dog remember to consult with your vet first. If you live in an area that has a large mosquito population remember to protect your dog by screening its sleeping quarters and using mild repellent sprays.

Most symptoms of dog heartworm are noticeable, so if your find your dog suffering from any of these remember to take it to the vet. Early intervention will cure your dog and ensure that you have many more fun times together.

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