If you have a dog, you probably wonder how to prevent heartworm for dog. Heartworm disease is one of the most serious infections a dog can get, and it is particularly dangerous because the roundworm larvae (worms) that cause the disease can also infect the heart and lungs. Infected dogs suffer from a variety of symptoms such as inflammation of the heart, lungs and abdomen, vomiting, diarrhea and even death. Preventing heartworm disease for dogs begins with recognizing that your dog has heartworm.
The life cycle of the heartworm in dogs begins with the intermediate host, the vivarium worm, that is released into the environment after a bite from an infected animal. As the vivarium worm grows, it attains the full adulthood stage and moves on to infect another animal. When it reaches an animal that is already infected, the intermediate host is released into the environment again. This cycle continues until the last worm is released into the environment, where it is susceptible to infection by heartworm. There are four different stages of the heartworm life cycle, and while the first two are similar to that of humans, the last stage involves the development of cysts on the intermediate host.
All dogs can be infected with heartworms, but they are particularly dangerous to dogs that have weak immune systems, like dogs with a congenital condition called cryptorchidism. Affected dogs must be taken to the veterinarian for treatment if the worm has not been cured in the previous stages. Symptoms include extreme discomfort, poor appetite, weight loss and abdominal pain. In most cases, treatment is successful, within two to three weeks, as the dog begins to improve from the clinical signs indicating infection. Treatment options include medications, such as heart-lung stimulants, that lower blood pressure and restore electrolyte balance, or surgery for the larva removal.
How to Prevent Heartworm For Dogs that are infected with heartworm need a daily dose of dewormer for prevention. To prevent heartworm in dogs that have caught the infection early, many dogs are given heartworm drugs after birth. Since these drugs are not very effective against adult heartworm, many dogs that catch heartworm as puppies are put on heartworm drugs until their growth stops. It is important to remember that heartworm drugs cannot prevent or cure heartworm, but they can lessen the symptoms and prolong the time between heartworm attacks in affected dogs.
How to Prevent Heartworm in Dogs If your dog already has an existing infection, treatment depends on the location of the lesion. In puppies, treatment is often restricted to improving the cough reflex, treating wheezing, or treating blocked airways. In most dogs, treatment involves deworming, although in some cases, the infection may respond to heartworm medication. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, be sure to contact your vet and set up an appointment to have your dog’s heartworm checked.
How to Prevent Heartworm For dogs that are carriers of heartworms, treatment may include heartworm preventive medications. The most commonly recommended treatment is heartgard Plus. Doxycycline can also be used but is not recommended for puppies less than six months old. Mefloquine should also not be used on puppies under four months of age or heartworm disease in dogs younger than two months. Some heartworm disease heartworm preventive medications have been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
How to Prevent Heartworms In some dogs, adult heartworms do not manifest symptoms, so they can go untreated. However, in other cases, the disease can cause a host of uncomfortable problems for your dog including severe anemia, ulcers in the anal area, heart valve diseases and liver failure. In dogs with adult heartworm disease, treatment includes heartworm pills and/or heart and kidney disease medications. It is important to treat adult heartworms as soon as possible because they can lead to further health problems such as liver disease and death if not treated quickly.
How to Prevent Heartworm for puppies or adult dogs is easier when you use heartworm prevention medications along with loving care. Although it is impossible to prevent fleas from biting, you can protect your dogs from them by being careful and keeping your pets groomed. You can help prevent heartworm in dogs by making sure your dogs sleep well and do not get dirty. Heartworm testing at your veterinarian is an easy, painless process.