Dog Heartworm Disease: What is it?

Heartworms in dogs is a condition caused by a certain type of parasite. These parasites are transmitted to your pet through mosquitoes. If you are living in an area where there are lots of mosquitoes during the night, it is very important that you seriously consider heartworm prevention measures for your dog.

Heartworm is a very dangerous disease. It can kill your dog if you don’t do something about it. Even more disturbing is the fact that this disease is very prevalent in the US, more particularly in the West where there are large open fields. As everybody knows, mosquitoes are common in rural areas and in the countryside.

The moment heartworm-transmitting mosquitoes bite your dog, the larvae will be transferred into its bloodstream. It will incubate there for several days. That’s the on-start of the disease. If left ignored, the parasites will eventually cause your pet a lot of harm. As such, it has to be treated right away.

On the other hand, heartworms in dogs is a type of disease that can easily be prevented. However, it can be very challenging to treat. The only good news is that this disease is rather seasonal so it is much easier for pet owners to protect their dogs from it.

Heartworm in dogs can be prevented in many ways. There are preventives in the form of injections and oral medicines. The injection is usually given to the dog on a monthly basis, quite diligently during the heartworm peak season. Examples of such vaccines are Ivermectin, Milbemycin, Lufenuron, and Selamectin. Talk to your vet as to how your dog can use these medicines to keep dog heartworm from their system.

This disease is called Heartworm because the parasites tend to invade the heart of dogs. The eggs are deposited into the bloodstream and are transported into the rest of the body until they reach the heart. Once the parasites find their way in the right ventricle, they will duplicate in number. Too many of them can cause an extreme hazard to the dog’s vital organs. As you very well know, failure of the heart may mean failure of the whole system.

The initial symptom of dog heartworm is coughing. As the parasites find their way from the heart and into the lungs, it will cause a group of symptoms similar to a pulmonary disease like lung cancer. Hemoptysis and chest pain come along with it.

This makes heartworm in dogs a very difficult disease to detect. Even a veterinarian may find it hard to diagnose your dog’s disease, and to provide the necessary cure for it. Unlike most parasites, these ones don’t affect the coat or the fur of your dog. They affect your dog’s internal organs instead, which compounds the problem.

Heartworm can infect the rest of your dog’s vital organs, not just the heart and lungs. It can cause the veins to work abnormally and the liver to shut down its normal operation. There are many dogs that have died from heartworm. Don’t let your dog be the next victim.

Provide your dog with the necessary care it needs. If you live in a place where mosquitoes grow in number during the summer or a particular time of the year, be sure to consult your vet for the best dog heartworm preventive measure against this disease.

Next: Causes of Dog Heartworm