Heartworms — a word that can cause panic and dread among pet parents. Heartworm infection is deadly. Therefore, we urge pet parents to be more aware of this fatal disease. Thankfully, with advances in healthcare, there are plenty of heartworm preventive treatments are available which are cost-effective and highly powerful in preventing heartworm disease.
Because treating a heartworm infection is complex and expensive, it’s best to administer preventives.
First, let’s start by understanding what heartworm disease is.
What is heartworm disease in dogs?
This disease is transmitted via mosquitoes and then enters into the dog’s system. Heartworm infection mainly affects the dog’s blood vessels, where the worms mature into adult heartworms and start spreading to vital organs. Thereafter, the infection reaches other organs and eventually attacks the heart.
Without proper treatment, heartworm disease is fatal.
What are the symptoms of heartworm disease?
Usually, the initial symptoms don’t gain that much attention. It’s when the dog becomes heavily infested that you start noticing the symptoms. Common symptoms of heartworm infection:
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Soft and dry perpetual cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Pale gums
- Dark or bloody urine
- Heart failure due to cardiovascular collapse
Upon observing any of these symptoms, immediately visit your vet.
How do you treat heartworm disease?
Generally, your vet will perform blood tests and other scans to check how much the heartworm infection has spread into the dog’s body.
And, based on that, the veterinarian prescribes treatment. In severe cases, the dogs may have to be hospitalized.
Again administering preventatives is a much safer course of action since treating heartworm infections is expensive and difficult.
When you should test your dog for heartworms?
Generally, all dogs need to get tested annually. However, in the following situations, dogs might need to get tested earlier:
- Puppies that are less than 7 months of age can be given heartworm preventative without testing them for the infection as it takes about 6 months for heartworm infection to develop. But, the puppy should be tested again after 6 months of the initial visit and again after another 6 months to ensure there is no heartworm infection. Thereafter, test the dog annually.
- Dogs that are over the age of 7 months and not on any heartworm preventive treatment should be tested before starting the preventative. Then, the dog again must be tested after six months and then yearly after that.
- If you miss any doses, especially during mosquito season, get your dog tested to ensure he hasn’t become infected with heartworms.
Is there a vaccine for heartworm disease?
Currently, there’s no vaccine available for this grievous disease that affects about 1 million dogs in the United States each year. However, many researchers are working on making it possible for pets.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool are working to identify proteins that could become the basis of a canine heartworm vaccine, which would protect dogs and fight the threat of growing resistance to heartworm preventatives.
For now, the only way to protect dogs from this disease is by administering a heartworm preventative, which usually is a monthly chewable tablet.
Prevention is better than cure
This statement fits right with heartworm infection. Using a heartworm preventative like Heartgard Plus for Dogs will cost much less than treating a heartworm infection.
In fact, now there are generic treatments available as well for people who are tight on budget.
So, to ensure your dog doesn’t face such a dangerous disease, regularly administer preventative treatments to keep him completely protected.
Moreover, you can also follow these simple tips to ensure your dog never gets infested with parasites or other mosquitoes.
- Regularly vacuum the house and carpet area where insects can hide.
- Wash the dog’s bedding so if there are any parasites lying around, the can get eliminated.
- If your dog likes to play in the garden, you can also get him a flea and tick collar for added protection.
- Examine the area you live in to see if your dog is at risk when it comes to heartworms and mosquitoes.
Keep your dog healthy
By following these simple steps, you can keep insects at bay. We should always see that our pets don’t suffer from such harmful diseases. They can’t express their feelings in words but they feel the same emotions, so if you have a pet, put his health first, and regularly administer the preventive treatments.
Heartworm disease can badly affect your pet’s health, so if you don’t want your furry pal to suffer, ensure you administer the heartworm preventive regularly. Therefore, to keep your buddy in good health, follow all these tips and never worry about any health issue! Lastly, we hope you and your furry pal are keeping well in this global crisis, wishing you all good health.
Joshua Scott is a freelance blogger, writer, and model who lives in Los Angeles. Joshua has been writing online for the past four years. He loves to write articles about pets, animals, modeling and traveling. He is passionate about spreading knowledge and tips across the world.
*DogsBestLife.com participates in the Chewy Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to let our site earn fees by linking to Chewy.com.