Table of Contents
- What Are Heartworms
- Symptoms of Heartworms
- Diagnosing Heartworms
- Treating Heartworms
- Prognosis for Dogs With Heartworms
- Prevention of Heartworms
Heartworms are a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects dogs. Heartworms are parasites that can cause serious damage to the heart and lungs of dogs, and if left untreated, can lead to death. In this article, we’ll discuss what heartworms are, the symptoms of heartworms, how to diagnose and treat heartworms, and the prognosis for dogs with heartworms. We’ll also discuss how to prevent heartworms in dogs.
What Are Heartworms
Heartworms are parasites that live in the heart and lungs of dogs. They are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The larvae of the heartworm migrate through the bloodstream and eventually make their way to the heart and lungs, where they mature and reproduce. Heartworms can cause serious damage to the heart and lungs of dogs, and can even lead to death if left untreated.
Symptoms of Heartworms
The symptoms of heartworms can vary from dog to dog, but some of the most common symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy, weight loss, and a decreased appetite. If left untreated, heartworms can cause severe damage to the heart and lungs, and can even lead to death.
Heartworms can be difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms can be similar to other conditions. The most common way to diagnose heartworms is through a blood test. This test looks for the presence of heartworm antigens, which are proteins produced by the heartworms. If the test is positive, further tests may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
Treating heartworms can be a long and difficult process. The first step is to kill the adult heartworms with an injectable medication. This is followed by a period of rest and medication to help the dog’s body heal from the damage caused by the heartworms. After the adult heartworms are killed, the dog will need to be tested regularly to make sure the heartworms are gone.
Prognosis for Dogs With Heartworms
The prognosis for dogs with heartworms depends on several factors, including the severity of the infection, the age of the dog, and the overall health of the dog. In general, the prognosis is better for younger dogs and those with milder infections. However, even with treatment, some dogs may not survive due to the damage caused by the heartworms.
Prevention of Heartworms
The best way to prevent heartworms is to use a monthly heartworm preventative. These medications are available from your veterinarian and can help to protect your dog from heartworms. It’s also important to keep your dog away from areas where mosquitoes are common, as this is the main way that heartworms are spread.
Heartworms are a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects dogs. If left untreated, heartworms can cause serious damage to the heart and lungs of dogs, and can even lead to death. The best way to prevent heartworms is to use a monthly heartworm preventative and to keep your dog away from areas where mosquitoes are common. If your dog does become infected with heartworms, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible to help improve the prognosis.
American Heartworm Society. (2020). Heartworm Disease in Dogs. Retrieved from https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-disease-in-dogs
American Kennel Club. (2020). Heartworm Disease in Dogs. Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/heartworm-disease-in-dogs/