Are You A Dog Owner? Everything You Need To Know About Heartworm Disease

If you’re a besotted dog owner, the last thing you want is a poorly pooch. Sadly, there are lots of parasites and pests out there, which can cause dogs problems. Often, it is possible to take steps to prevent illness and infections. If it’s not possible, there are often effective treatments, which can be called upon. Heartworm disease is a parasitic infection, which is spread through mosquitoes. If you’re not familiar with it, don’t panic. Here’s everything you need to know about heartworm disease in dogs.

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What exactly are heartworms?

Heartworms are parasites, which are most commonly found in dogs. Animals become infected through mosquito bites. When the mosquito bites your pet, they leave behind larvae, which develop into worms. The more infected animals they bite, the more prevalent the infection. Heartworms can grow up to a foot in length. They can usually be treated very effectively, but if they are left, they can cause severe complications. When the heartworms reach adulthood, they can travel to the lungs, and this can result in serious damage. In the worst cases, heartworm disease can be fatal. Heartworm infections tend to be more common in the summer months when there are more mosquitoes around.

What are the warning signs?

It is uncommon for a dog to have symptoms in the early stages of infection. As the infection progresses, you may notice that your pet seems lethargic and they develop a cough. In the latter stages, you may notice bleeding. If your pet seems out of sorts, contact your vet. It’s always best to get any suspicious symptoms checked out. The earlier heartworm is spotted, the higher the chances of successful treatment. If you have heard of lots of dogs being infected with heartworm disease in the local area, it may be wise to call your vet.

Preventative treatments

Most vets recommend preventative heartworm treatment for dogs. Prevention is always better than cure. In most cases, treatment involves taking a course of tablets. The tablets don’t prevent the dog from getting bitten, but they do destroy larvae left in the bloodstream. Your vet may also recommend an annual test to check that preventative treatments have been successful. You should also keep up to date with routine health and dental checks for your dog.

Treatment for heartworm

If your dog does have heartworm, it is possible to treat it. Treatment aims to destroy the adult worms, as well as the larvae. The priority is to kill the adult worms. Treatment usually involves an injection, which is followed by a period of rest. During their recovery, it is essential to give your dog plenty of TLC and discourage them from exercising. Treating heartworm disease can be a lengthy process, but the results are usually positive.

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Heartworm disease can have devastating implications for dogs. Thankfully, many cases can be prevented. If you’re worried about heartworm disease, don’t hesitate to ask your vet for advice. There are preventative treatments available, and you can learn how to spot the warning signs. If you do feel that your dog isn’t quite right, or you’re worried about them, organise an appointment with your vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.