heartworm in dogs

dog health: heartworm in dogs
Heartworm Awareness Month - April
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april is heartworm awareness month. even if it's not april, all dog owners should be aware of the dangers of heartworm especially to dogs. heartworm is a serious illness that can harm a dog's health and life. it can even spread to others animals like cats and other mammals.

what is heartworm disease in dogs

heartworm is a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes from a heartworm larvae infected dog to an uninfected dog.

how heartworm is transmitted

Heartworm Life Cycle in Dogs
Image Credit: 29th Animal Hospital
the mosquito bites the infected dog and ingests the tiny heartworm larvae (microfilariae) along with the blood, and then, the mosquito transmits this larvae by biting an uninfected dog and then infecting his bloodstream. the parasitic larvae will then grow inside the dog's body and move to the dog's heart and lungs.

usually, by the time a dog is taken to the veterinary, his heartworm is already in its advanced stages, which means your dog having to get an expensive, arduous, and distressing critical treatment. it's better to be aware and alert of the early signs of heartworm, so you can take your dog to be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs:

  • coughing or wheezing
  • tiredness
  • unwillingness to play
to confirm that your dog indeed has canine heartworm disease, you should let your vet perform a heartworm test on your dog, then, you can immediately proceed with treatment, or else the illness would surely cost your dog's life.

if you don't want to undergo any of these problems, then you should at least know how to prevent heartworm in dogs. 

heartworm prevention:

your should consult your vet for the right heartworm preventative medication for your dog. remember that you should not let your dog skip his monthly preventive dose as this is where the effectiveness of the preventive medicine would depend on. once completed, any mosquito transmitted heartworm larvae would no longer be able to live and thrive inside your dog's body. 

heartworm treatment:

if your dog wasn't able to get any preventive measure against heartworm, then he could be infected by the disease and would need to undergo treatment. to treat a dog's heartworm, the vet would administer a series of arsenic-based shots to kill the heartworms. the dog should be in a stress-free environment and should receive intensive care and be in constant observation.

if heartworm is not prevented and left untreated, it will cause severe problems with the dog's heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver which would eventually lead to death. 

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