Heartworm disease in dogs
Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition. Heartworm disease is a worldwide dog health problem. Dog owners can help prevent heartworm disease with heartworm medication for dogs.
Medicine to prevent heartworm disease in dogs can be given to puppies that are at least eight weeks old. Any adult dog should not be given heartworm medication until the dog has been tested for heartworms.
Symptoms of heartworm disease may not develop until the disease has progressed to a severe heartworm infection. Many times, the first sign of heartworm disease in dogs is a decrease in activity. Jaundice, convulsions, coughing, shortness of breath, and vision problems can be signs of heartworm disease.
Severe heartworm disease can cause an enlarged liver, accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, and loss of consciousness. As the heartworm disease progresses, the dog may succumb to congestive heart failure.
The veterinarian uses blood tests to check for dog heartworms. The blood samples are analyzed for the presence of heartworm larvae. X-rays may be used to confirm a diagnosis and check the severity of heartworm disease in dogs.
Treatment for heartworm disease has the best outcome when the heartworm disease is caught early. Dogs should be tested regularly for heartworm disease. If the heartworm disease is advanced, the treatment can be fatal.
The harsh chemicals used to treat heartworm disease kills the adult and immature heartworms. There is also danger of a large collection of heartworms being killed in the heart and blocking the blood flow. A veterinarian may not recommend heartworm treatment for dogs with severe heartworm disease or other health problems.
Heartworm disease can infect other animals besides dogs. Domestic cats, foxes, and other wild animals can get heartworm disease. Heartworms are not considered to pose a risk of heartworm disease in humans.