Mosquito season is soon approaching which means your dogs are more likely to be infected with Heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is found in many parts of the United States including: Oregon, California, Arizona and in dessert areas. Heartworms develop in dogs just 7 months after they are bitten by an infected mosquito. However, it is almost impossible to tell as a pet owner if the mosquito is infected. Heartworms are difficult and costly to remove. That’s why it is important to take preventable measures like taking heartworm medication and to educate yourself in order to protect your furry loved ones from this disease.
Signs Of Heartworms
When your dog is first infected there are no first visible signs that are present. The signs start to show during the final molt of the heartworm’s larvae. Some signs include:
- Displays intolerance
- Shortness of breath
- Pneumonia which increases inflammation
- Lack of appetite
Stages of Heartworms if affected:
Stage 1: Lowest risk! If your dog is at the first stage of the heartworm disease it can only be seen on an X-ray and all the other tests would come up as normal.
Stage 2: Moderate risk! You will notice that your dog is losing weight, coughing and has difficulty breathing. There are also more visible signs on the X-ray. Blood tests will also show the affects of the heartworm in your dog.
Stage 3: Severe risk! Your dog’s symptoms from stage 2 get more severe.
Stage 4: Worst case! All your dogs’ symptoms are magnified and he or she are now collapsing in shock and is at the risk of dying.
Elements of diagnosis
There are 3 diagnosis steps you can take as a pet owner:
- Book an appointment with you veterinarian this early spring to get your dog tested for heartworm disease.
- Make your dog undergo a physical exam; including, a chest X-ray and blood tests.
- Heartworm disease is preventable by using HeartGard Plus medication which is available at http://www.worldpetexpress.net.
Treatments are different from dog to dog and depends what stage the heartworm disease is at. However, there are two common basic treatments that are used on dogs. Which include, patient evaluation and stabilization and elimination of the heartworm parasite. For example:
- Initial treatment is that the dog will receive an adulticide to kill the adult heartworm.
- In severe cases the dog is hospitalized and maybe necessary for a longer period of time.
- Surgical procedure may be needed to remove adult worms and is recommended when there are multiple worms.
Treatments can cost up to $1000 so it is important that once your dog is treated is to get prevention by using heartworm medication as recommended by your veterinarian.
Prevention for heartworms will cost you less than your weekly Starbucks run compared to the treatments that can run up to $1000. For example, it is important to get routine heartworm checkups if your dog is at risk or if you are living in a endemic region. Also you can give your dog monthly pills like HeartGard Plus which will also help prevent and protect your dog from Heartworm disease.