Dog Health Spotlight – Heartworm Disease


I want to make you aware of the threat that Heartworm poses to you puppy. While easily prevented, it often goes overlooked buy pet owners and in a lot of cases is caught when it is too late. The parasite is passed from dog to dog by, which is an insect that is notorious for passing along disease from animal to animal. The transfer occurs when the insect bites an infected dog, ingests the larvae, then feeds on an uninfected animal. While an adult worm can reach up to 12 inches in length, symptoms usually manifest within a 6-8 month period after the parasite is passed. One the worms reproduce, the infest the right side of the heart, arteries, and lungs, causing the dog noticeable symptoms.

Symptoms of Heartworm can start off being practically unnoticeable, such as a soft coughing with exertion. But the cough will continue to get worse, and over time the dog will no longer be able to run and play without complete exhaustion. The dogs quality of life will be greatly affected, it can cause the animal to pass out, cough up blood, vomiting, and diarrhea. The issue is usually that these symptoms mimic other common maladies.

As treatment goes, the best treatment is prevention. However, in the event that you dog does contract it, there are treatments available. Keep in mind that you should have your pet tested every year, and always have them tested before starting any kind of preventative treatment. A canine given preventative medication when the parasite already present can cause serious complications. A veterinarian can administer an arsenic compound to kill the adult worms if the dogs other issues are not to severe. As prevention goes, ask your vet for the best application for your dog.

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