4 Fast & Important Facts About Canine Heartworms

Feeding, training, and grooming are all tasks that your dog requires, but ensuring they are physically healthy by providing them with proper medical care is also important. While some tasks are considered priorities, many dog parents forget simple medications that can prevent uncomfortable and deadly diseases.

One million dogs are estimated to be positive for heartworms, but only 30 percent of these dogs will actually be diagnosed. Because of the dangers associated with this disease, proper understanding is imperative. With this guide, you will learn a few fast, yet important, facts regarding canine heartworms.

Spread by Mosquitoes

Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, but you may not understand how this affects your dog.

A mosquito can bite dogs and cats all over one given area. If one of these animals is already infected with heartworm, the mosquito will become infected after the bite, as well.

A mosquito that carries heartworm will bite your dog, infecting them with the larvae that grow into adults. The larvae flow into your dog's bloodstream, eventually making the heart and lungs home. This is where the larvae begin to grow and mature.

The cycle may seem never ending, since preventing mosquitoes from the area around your dog can be difficult. If your dog spends most of the time outdoors, preventative measures are a must. However, dogs who only go outdoors periodically to use the bathroom are also at risk of being bit and infected by a mosquito.

Prevention Is Possible

You can reduce the risk of your dog getting bit by a mosquito. It is important to note that you should never apply pest repellant to your dog, since the chemicals used in these products can cause skin and eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, and even seizure.

Avoid leaving stagnant water laying around outside, since this water is an appealing spot for mosquitoes. Clean your dog's water bowls each day, even if they water has been inside at all times.

Avoid walking your dog during peak mosquito times. Your dog is most likely to be bit by a mosquito at dawn and dusk.

Lastly, make sure to talk to your dog's veterinarian about a monthly preventative medication. Whether administered as a pill, topical ointment, or injection, these preventive medications eliminate the larval stage of heartworm parasites before they reach the dangerous adult age.

Heartworm Signs

In some cases, your dog may not show any signs that they are infected with heartworms. As the infection spreads and the heartworm grow, symptoms may begin to show. Here are a few common signs of heartworm disease:

  • Chronic cough
  • Fatigue after moderate activity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss

As heartworm disease progresses into a more involved stage, your dog's heart may begin to fail. Excess fluid may develop in the stomach, causing the abdomen to swell. Without immediate treatment, your dog will develop blockages that prevent blood circulation and breathing. In these cases, death is likely.

Treatment Is Imperative

If your dog is showing one or more of the above signs, treatment is imperative. Veterinarians will take blood and stool samples to determine if your dog has heartworm disease. Rest, fluids, and medication may be used to ease symptoms before treating the deadly heartworms.

Today, an injected medication is used to treat heartworm disease in dogs. This injection contains arsenic properties that effectively kill heartworms living in the blood vessels. Treatment can be expensive, so it is best to spend time and money on preventative medications for your dog.

Protecting your dog's health and happiness is possible. By understanding these fast facts, you will learn the importance of preventing and treating this deadly disease. Learn more by visiting resources like http://www.emergencypetclinics.com.