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Heartworm Info

What is Heartworm?Heart with Heartworms

Heartworm is a disease usually found in dogs and some cats. It is a parasitic worm that can cause extreme damage to a dog's body and they get the worms through contact with mosquitoes. While dogs are the primary hosts for this parasite, it has been known for cats to have heartworm and even some humans, but on a very rare occasion. They are actual worm parasites that live in the dog's heart, arteries and lungs and they have a life span of six to seven months - plenty of time to do a great deal of damage.

How do Dogs Get Heartworm?


Again, heartworm is spread through contact with mosquitoes so it is outdoor dogs that are the most afflicted by heartworm diseases. Infected mosquitoes bite the dog, but in the process they deposit heartworm larvae into the dog's coat. From there, the larvae tunnels into the dog's skin and grows Heartworm Cysleinto the worm-like parasite that they appear to be and they can get rather big; some heartworms have been discovered to be a foot long! They multiply and create more heartworms that live in a dog's blood vessels and they can be there for years, causing extreme problems with blood circulation and the lungs.

The problem with heartworm is that it can get very bad before it ever shows its ugly head to a human owner. This means that your dog could be afflicted with heartworm and you would never know it, perhaps until it is nearly too late for them. Depending on the health of your dog, the number of heartworms, where they have infected and how long they have been there, a dog can be fatally ill with heartworm disease if they are not checked and treated thoroughly. Signs of heartworm disease in dogs include fainting, severe weight loss, heavy or short breathing, loss of appetite or energy, nervousness and coughing. Heart failure is also a sign of heartworm, although it is one of the terminal ones that may contribute to death from these nasty parasites.

You Can Help Your Dog?
Your veterinarian can test your dog and find out whether or not he is infected with the parasites and you should then start on a heartworm preventative pill for your pet. If they are infected, there are methods of treatment as well and many of them do work, but preventing heartworms in dogs is always much easier than treating them.


What to look for?
The first signs of heartworm infection are usually a cough, lack of energy, weight loss, loss of coat condition and a reduction in your dog’s ability to exercise. Your veterinarian can test to see if your dog is infected. Treatment is available. However, prevention is the key.

You should start heartworm prevention as early as possible. Dogs starting later than six months of age require a test to determine if they are already infected with heartworm.

 

Reading This: This information is intended to provide general information only which may not be applicable to your particular circumstances. If you're concerned about your pets health or are uncertain as to whether a product is suitable for your pets health or welfare, always consult with your Local Qualified Veterinarian.