Heartworms are parasitic worms that are quite common in pets, especially in dogs. These parasites came into the body of a dog through a mosquito bite when it is in the larval stage. It takes six months for the larvae to grow and become an adult heartworm. Since they can go undetected for months, so it is very necessary to take your dog/puppy for their regular checkups and get heartworm testing. This is particularly crucial for pet owners living in wet areas that are prone to mosquitos.
Symptoms Of Heartworms
The early signs of heartworms in your dog may include:
*Shortness of breath
*Loss of weight
*Loss of appetite
*And in some severe cases, you may notice the bulging of the chest or a swollen abdomen.
Affects Of Heartworms On Dogs Body
For an infection to take place, the infected mosquito bites a healthy dog and transmits the microfilariae. At this stage, the parasites have a very small impact on your dog’s health. The microfilariae then grow to become larvae inside the dog’s body before transforming into adult heartworms. These silent killers do not stop once inside the body of your dog, Female mate with the male to produce offspring. These worms then start affecting the pet’s heart and lungs.
Adult heartworm is believed to grow between 6 to 12 inches. When they become large in numbers, they start to obstruct the blood flow and can cause even cause damage to the pulmonary arteries. If the numbers continue to increase, the heartworms can completely block the flow of blood, causing the dog to go in shock and collapse. And the affected dog dies after a couple of hours.
Preventing Your Dog From Getting Heartworms
Before taking your dog for treatment, make sure you take him for heartworm testing. A blood test is done to check. If the pet is not infected, you can have your vet give your dog the preventative medication that will provide twelve-month protection against parasites and intestinal worms.
Heartworms cannot transmit from an infected dog. Transmission of parasites is done only through a mosquito bite. As a preventive measure, make sure that you clear all the tall grass from your yard to stop the breeding of mosquitos.
In some cases, the treatment can be a costly affair for pet owners. The process sometimes can be tough for the dog and even hard for him to hold up. But, this does not mean that heartworms cannot be treated. For the treatment, The vet will put the dog on the medication that will kill all adult heartworms. The body then absorbs the dead heartworms to completely get rid of them from the dog’s system.
For the final stage of treatment, the medication is dispensed for eliminating the larvae and microfilariae that are left in the blood. A vet will then ensure that the dog is free from all internal parasites and infections.