Image Source: Pixabay.com
Heartworm is a serious illness most commonly experienced by dogs. Although it is not as common in cats, it is just as real a threat. Despite the name, heartworm disease is not actually caused by a worm. It is rather, an infection that is passed on by mosquitoes. If an infected mosquito bites your dog, chances are, your dog will also be infected.
Most people claim that if you have a healthy dog, the parasite will be less likely to survive and infect him. This, in fact, is just a myth. The infection can be spread by a simple mosquito bite. It is even more dangerous because you’ll never know which mosquitoes are infected and which are not, making prevention and treatment all the more important.
How can you prevent your pet from getting heartworm?
This can be easily accomplished with monthly topicals that you put on your pet’s skin, as well as monthly preventative pills that you can use. There’s even an injectable product that has to be administered every six months. The best part about these preventative measures is that they’re not at all expensive! You can prevent your pet from getting heartworms with the same amount of money that you might spend at Starbucks for your weekly coffee.
What are some of the signs and symptoms that your pet might display if they have heartworm?
Although there are discernible symptoms during the initial stage, as the infection progresses and more and more worms accumulate around the lungs and the heart, your dog might start coughing. As the infection progresses further, your pet might show a lack of interest in exercise. If left untreated, your pet may even die.
What can you do to treat heartworms?
The drug that’s used to treat this disease is called immiticide. It’s an arsenic-based injectable. This injection is administered two to three times in order to kill off the adult heartworms in your dog’s heart’s blood vessels. In order to properly treat heartworms, the vet will first need to diagnose how infected your dog is. To do this, he will need blood work, X-rays, and other tests needed to see the gravity of the damage. Once the seriousness of the infection has been established, your dog will be given injections.
Role of medicines and vaccinations
Heartworm is a serious disease that can be fatal to pets. It's important to know what you can do to prevent your dog from getting heartworm.
There are several ways you can prevent heartworm, including medicines and vaccinations. The most common way of heartworm prevention is through the use of heartworm meds for dogs. These are available at most pet stores and pharmacies. These heartworm medicines for dogs and cats are very effective against heartworm disease, but they do have some side effects, so it's important to talk with your veterinarian before administering these heartworm medicines to your dog.
The best way for pet owners to prevent heartworm disease is by using monthly heartworm pills for dogs and cats like Advantage Multi for Dogs or Advantage for Cats, Heartgard Plus for Cats, Heartgard Plus for Dogs, etc. These products are applied topically once a month and are effective against the larvae of heartworms before they reach adulthood. They’re also safe for use on pregnant and nursing animals.
Another way of heartworm prevention for dogs and cats is vaccinations. Vaccinations can protect your pet from heartworm by stimulating their immune system so that if they are bitten by a mosquito carrying the parasite, their bodies will fight off any infection before it has time to take hold in their system. There are different types of vaccines available for dogs depending on where you live; talk with your vet about which one is best for your area and lifestyle needs!
What can you expect after the treatment?
Your pet will have to be kept quiet for the duration of a few months after the treatment. This is because the heartworms begin to die after the injections have been administered and that may cause blockage in the pulmonary vessels. So to be safe, keep your dog on rest and restrain from heavy exercise. Unlike chickenpox in humans, the fact that your dog has had heartworms once doesn’t prevent him from acquiring them again. That’s why preventative measures are so important.