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Heartworm Symptoms

Heartworm Symptoms

What Are the Heartworm Symptoms of in Dogs?

Heartworms are parasitic roundworms that can live in dogs and other animals.  In fact, they are microscopic parasites that mosquitos transmit to dogs through mosquito bites.  Heartworms usually infect the lungs and hearts of dogs.  It is important to be on the lookout for the common heartworm symptoms in dogs.

While heartworms can go undetected for a very great deal of time, the effects they cause are often noticeable after their gestational period of 6 to 8 months.

Some of the symptoms of heartworms include:

  • raspy coughing,
  • lack of breath,
  • nausea,
  • a swollen belly from excess fluid that builds up in the abdomen,
  • and severe weight loss.

If the condition worsens, a dog will likely suffer blockage in their heart and lungs and will exhibit heartworm symptoms such as:

  • dark, bloody urine;
  • pale gums;
  • and heavy, labored breathing.

At this point the heartworm infestation has become extremely serious and requires a veterinarian.

Dogs can only be exposed to the parasite through infected mosquitoes.  Since it is so hard to know whether or not a mosquito is carrying the parasite, it is wise to practice preventative methods. Without a good heartworm prevention, a dog will need to undergo a rigorous heartworm treatment.  Heartworm treatments can be very expensive as well as painful.

Treatment for Heartworms

Without a doubt, a heartworm infestation within a dog’s body can be very serious. Around 7 months after exposure a dog will begin to show signs of infection once the heartworm larvae have matured. As a matter of fact, heartworms can grow up to 12 inches long and can reproduce very quickly. A dog can have up to 250 heartworms in their lungs and heart at a time, which causes serious and possibly fatal conditions that require extensive treatments.

Heartworm preventative measures can save a great deal of trouble and money.

Once diagnosed with heartworms, a dog will be prescribed antibiotics to combat the bacteria that heartworms can release upon death .  They will also receive heart worm preventative medicines and steroid treatments to boost their system.

Heartworm treatment measures take up to about 60 days.

Once the preventative measures have been taken, a dog will be injected with a drug treatment that is approved by the FDA to kill the worms.  The vet places these heartworm injections in the lumbar muscles of the dog; and requires an overnight stay for observation. This heartworm medicine is an organic arsenical compound.

Heartworm Statistics into dogs.

  • Infected mosquitoes inject the heartworm larvae
  • A heartworm larva can take up to 7 months to mature.
  • Every state in the U.S. has documented multiple cases of heartworm in dogs.
  • Dogs heartworm exposure have a 100 percent chance of being with the parasite.
  • Humans and other animals cannot catch the parasite by contact.
  • Preventative measures are preferable; as they save time, money, and can help
    to prevent heartworms.
  • The heartworm parasite can live in a dog’s body for up to 7 years.
  • A heartworm infestation can cause inflammation in the heart, lungs, and other organs.
  • Heartworms cause shortness of breath, nausea, and can make a dog’s coat dull and lifeless. They can also cause severe weight loss and fatigue.

For most people dogs are not just pets, they are part of the family. The likelihood of a dog contracting heartworms is always a threat but is not a foregone conclusion. Areas in which mosquito density is higher are wise to avoid unless the family dog has undergone the preventative measures for heartworms.

Unfortunately, it is easy to ignore or otherwise not notice the symptoms of heartworms.  These heartworm symptoms are potentially indicative of other, lesser diseases or infections that are not as debilitating. If the condition persists however it is wise to take the affected dog to the veterinarian and have them tested. A heartworm can live for a very long time and is a continual health risk to any dog.

Do You Have a Heartworm Positive Dog?