Heartworm Prevention for Pets
Your dog is a part of your family and one way to make sure they stick around for a long time is to practice heartworm prevention by knowing the signs and recognizing heartworm symptoms early enough to treat before heartworm disease sets in. Heartworm is a silent killer that often goes unnoticed until the disease is well advanced.
The trouble starts with the dog being bitten by a seemingly harmless mosquito and could wind up with a long, painful, costly treatment plan, or even death if left treated by a qualified veterinarian. The heartworm symptoms in dogs typically will not begin to show until months after being infected, so it is crucial to be able recognize the signs as early as possible.
What Is Heartworm Disease in Dogs?
Dirofilaria immitis is an organism called nematode, or roundworm, that is most commonly referred to as heartworm. Dogs that do not have access to effective prescription heartworm medication are at a high risk of developing heartworm disease that can be deadly in dogs.
Dogs get heartworms through mosquito bites that can infect them with heartworm larvae that course through the body and take up residence in the heart and lungs, which can take up to six months.
6 Common Heartworm Symptoms for Dogs
It is important to understand heartworm symptoms in order to identify heartworm disease to offer your dog treatment and relief as quickly as possible. The following are six common signs your dog may have contracted heartworms.
1. Persistent Dry Cough
When a dog contracts heartworm disease, parasites begin multiplying in the dog’s lungs and surrounding veins, resulting in a soft, dry, persistent cough. Dogs with heartworms may even faint from coughing fits after even the lightest form of exercise or activity.
2. Loss of Energy, Interest
Most dogs seem like they are going in perpetual motion when they are awake and active. If a dog seems lethargic and has a decreased interest in normal activities, it could be a symptom of heartworms. Basic physical activities will become too much for them to handle as the condition progresses.
3. Sudden, Unexplained Weight Loss
Even eating can become too taxing for a dog with heartworm to handle, resulting in rapid weight loss or anorexia. The dog will continue to weaken and be unable to gather the strength to eat at all.
4. Respiratory Problems
Dogs with heartworm will exhibit breathing problems that are similar to asthma sufferers. Fluid build-up will make it difficult for their lungs to oxygenate their blood, making it difficult to breathe freely.
5. Bulging Ribs
As the dog loses weight and their lungs fill up with fluid from the expansion of the heartworm disease, it will cause their chest to bulge out. Ribs will begin to stick out giving the dog a look as if they are malnourished.
If the condition continues untreated, the dog will experience a blockage of blood flow and ultimately collapse. This advanced state of heartworm symptoms can result in death within just a few days.
Some symptoms can easily be signs of other conditions other than heartworm, making it even more difficult to properly diagnose and treat. Among some other heartworm symptoms that are possible include:
- Excessive sleeping
- Increased blood pressure
- Secondary pneumonia
Contact Coronado Pet Hospital for Heartworm Disease Treatment
From general veterinary services to prevention and surgery, our state of the art AAHA- accredited facility has every resource available to offer your family pets the finest comprehensive medical care in Rio Rancho. Call Coronado Pet Hospital right away at (505) 771-3311.