As a dog owner, it is dreadful to even think about heartworm disease in your furry pal. Can you imagine the suffering your beloved pet would suffer in the presence of tubular parasite residing in the heart and blood vessels? It is a very difficult predicament for a dog owner to see his pet suffer due to the presence of heartworms. Fortunately, this disease is totally preventable.
Let us now look at some of the questions & answers that will help you learn about heartworms in dogs:
Questions & Answers To Learn Heartworms in Dogs
What Is Heartworm?
Heartworm is a parasite that resides in the heart and lungs of dogs and is spread by a mosquito. This disease is fatal without treatment and is widespread in our country. Hence, it is essential to protect your furry pal against heartworms. Heartworm disease is spread by a mosquito that gets this infection when it sucks blood meal from a heartworm positive pet. Please remember that dogs cannot directly spread heartworm disease to one another. But an infected pet can act as a carrier and potential source of infection for other dogs in the household. If a mosquito bites a heartworm positive dog and then bites another dog, then the transmission can occur.
How To Prevent Heartworm Disease?
There are various heartworm preventative options available in the market in the form of:
- Yearly injections
- Monthly tablets, Chewables and spot-ons
Before commencing the heartworm preventative course run a heartworm detection test to check whether the dog is heartworm positive or not. Once the infection is not found, this treatment can be started. This test is recommended for dogs more than six months of age.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heartworm in Dogs?
There are four classes of heartworm disease (Class I-IV) which cause clinical signs increasing the severity with the progression in the class. In the Class I, the dog shows no clinical signs or can exhibit a mild cough. As the disease progresses to class IV, dogs become more obviously ill and can show decreased appetite, unkempt appearance, breathing problems, heart failure and weight loss.
Sometimes, it becomes difficult to know whether your dog is suffering from heartworm disease until it becomes more advanced. This is the reason that makes it crucial to take your furry pal to the veterinarian to regularly check the status of your dog and divert your attention on prevention of the spread of heartworm disease.
How To Treat Heartworm Disease?
Treatment on heartworm disease is contingent on the severity of the infection and the health of the pet. It is critical to catch the disease early to successfully treat heartworm disease. But the treatment is very time-consuming, expensive and painful for the dog. There are three basic ways to treat heartworms in dogs:
- Blood testing
- Radiographs (X-rays)
But prevention is the better option to take, than to cure. There are various heartworm preventative treatments available in the market like Heartgard Plus, Interceptor, Nuheart, Revolution, RSPCA Monthly Heartworm Tablets, Valuheart and Sentinel Spectrum. Consult with your veterinarian and then select the best heartworm preventative treatment.