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Everything That A Dog Parent Must Know About Heartworm And Its Prevention

A Pug wrapped in a blanket

Heartworms in dogs are a life-threatening disease. However, there are ways to keep your pet healthy and capitalize on their good health by preventing Heartworm infestation. 

To reduce the risks of Heartworms taking up residence in your dog’s lungs, you should visit your vet and learn how to properly administer Heartworm treatment.

Heartworm: The Dog’s Version of Malaria

Heartworm disease is a pretty major condition, caused by long parasites that live in your dog’s heart and lungs. They can grow up to 12 inches. These worms are transmitted to your dog through mosquitoes, which makes it kind of like the dog’s version of malaria. Heartworm can lead to severe heart and lung disease, failure, and even permanent damage. 

Canine Heartworm disease is a condition that affects dogs when they are bitten by mosquitos. Heartworms not only harm your pooch, but they can also have an impact on their surroundings. That is why it is a heart-wrenching concern for most pet parents who could not see their dog get cut short or die from having too much of these common parasites. 

The one thing you must know about canine Heartworm disease is the fact that your pet will begin to breathe faster and get fatigued when the situation gets worse. This happens because the larvae invade their lungs and cause physical stress and fatigue. However, a preventive medicine like Heartgard chewable for dogs kills the larvae inside the bloodstream and puts a full stop to their growth. 

The Transmission/Contraction

Dog parents do everything possible to protect their canines from common problems that can make them sick, cause them pain, and put their lives at risk. In this regard, one of the most common health problems that dogs have to deal with daily is Heartworms. 

Heartworms are small parasites that live in a dog’s pulmonary arteries, lungs, and blood vessels. Each time a mosquito bites an infected dog, it comes into contact with Heartworms. And when it goes for its next meal of non-infected blood, it brings those Heartworms along with it.

When the mosquito bites a dog and injects his bloodstream with baby Heartworms, the pup is immediately placed at risk. It stays in his/her body and molt sometimes up to seven times before reaching maturity. It’s not uncommon for an infected dog to host millions of adult Heartworms inside him/her.

Common Symptoms of Heartworm Disease

For the first few months of your dog’s life, Heartworm infection may not be evident. But as a dog parent, you should be aware that the longer it goes untreated; it makes symptoms more likely to occur. 

Some common signs of heartworm disease include: 

  • Heaving after exercise, 
  • Withdrawal from anything challenging 
  • Physical fatigue. 

However, a sudden blockage of blood will feed the adult Heartworms within a dog’s congested heart. As a result, it will have disastrous effects on your dog’s health and could even end up killing him/her.

Heartworm Disease: The Treatment

The moment your dog tests positive for Heartworm infection, you need to begin treatment immediately. Your dog will receive a Heartworm antigen test, followed by a microfilaria test to confirm the findings of the antigen test. 

The next step will be the administration of an injection that is combined with a liquid. You’ll have to wait several hours before administering another needle of the combined solution and taking your dog out for a walk or letting them rest indoors in case they’re still unwell. There are several steps involved when it comes to treating Heartworms, so you must follow each instruction carefully.

Heartworm Disease: The Prevention

It’s best to prevent Heartworm disease before it happens. To keep your dog safe, they should be given a safe and approved Heartworm medication year-round. There are many types of Heartworm medications available. But they can all be separated into three groups: 

  • The chewable pills
  • Topical creams
  • And monthly injections

With that being said, Heartworms can be a real pain. But fortunately, there are medications available that can stop the larvae’s growth. Getting rid of the worms can be a gradual process though, especially since Heartworms reproduce by growing larvae inside dogs’ arteries.

When it comes time to eliminate the Heartworms, the dog’s parents need to do everything they can for him/her. Dogs who have few symptoms usually recover quickly, but those with more severe infections tend to take longer.

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