Actions to take for heartworm symptoms in dogs
Many people believe that heartworms are an infestation that dogs can catch from other dogs or from eating things off the ground that have been infected. This is not the case. Heartworms are caused by mosquitoes who carry the larvae of heartworms and infect the dog when they bite it. When heartworm symptoms in dogs becomes noticable the dog usually has had the infestation for a long period of time.
Protecting a pet from heartworm infestation is relatively inexpensive and easy to do. There are many treatments available from the vet that can be applied to protect a pet. In addition, there are injections that can be given when a dog has it's yearly health check that will protect it from infestation.
The rate of dogs who are being infested with heartworms in the United States is so high that it is very important to pre-treat a pet before they are exposed to areas where they may get bitten by mosquitoes. These treatments will ensure that the pet does not become ill and require more expensive treatment.
Mosquitoes breed in any area that has standing water. This can be a long standing puddle or well as well as riverbanks where the water does not move. It is important that if an individual lives in an area where there may be standing water or a pool that they take extra precautions to protect their pet.
An infestation is fully manifested by the type heartworm symptoms in dogs become visible. Heartworms can live in the bloodstream of a dog, attacking organs throughout the body, for several years with no visible symptoms. By the time the symptoms do begin to appear the dog is ill and needs to see a vet immediately.
One of the main symptoms that a dog will show when the heartworms have clogged the heart is coughing. The cough will not sound like kennel cough but be more raspy as thought the dog is gasping for air while coughing. A dog may cough so hard that they will cough up blood or pass out in the middle of coughing.
Another symptom is shortness of breath. While the heartworms invade the heart, they also invade the other organs of the body. By the time symptoms occur the heartworms are usually lodged in the lungs as well as this makes it difficult for the dog to breathe normally. When they breathe it will sound very thready and uneven.
As the heartworms accumulate in the blood stream the flow of blood to the organs and the brain is severely decreased. This can cause a dog to be lethargic and unable to function or be active without falling down or coughing. By this time a pet will also be unable to walk any distance, will not be able to run, and will need to be lifted or carried up stairs.
When any of these symptoms appear it is important that the dog be taken to the vet immediately. Once the heartworm symptoms in dogs have developed to this extent the treatment is expensive and involves x-rays, work-ups and injections. In addition the dog must be kept quiet during treatment and for several months after to ensure that treatment has been successful.