Heartworm is a potentially fatal disease caused by a parasitic worm that invades the dog’s body when an infected mosquito bites the dog. This blood-borne parasite is known as Dirofilaria immitis. Adult worms are usually found in the heart and rarely in other parts of the circulatory system. Adult heartworms may live up to five years and during this time the female produces millions of offspring called microfilaria. Slugs, snails and even frogs can pose a risk of your dog getting French heartworm.
If a dog has heartworms, what symptoms should I look for?
Some of the symptoms of a dog with heartworm can include a dry cough, lethargy, weight loss and rapid or difficult breathing. If you have any concerns over the health of your dog, please contact us at 709-753-0506.
How does a dog get heartworms?
Your dog can get heartworm by being bit by an infected mosquito or in the case of French heartworm if they eat an infected larva of a slug or snail.
What are the treatment options for heartworms?
Dogs are generally treated with three injections of a drug called melarsomine to kill adult heartworms, a heartworm preventative to kill juvenile heartworms, and doxycycline and prednisone to reduce the chances of unwanted side effects. In some cases, other medications may be prescribed, or different protocols recommended. Advantage multi and interceptor can be used for prevention. Any concerns please give us a call at 709-753-0506.
Why is recovery for heartworm treatment so challenging?
Recovery can be challenging because when parasites die in the heart, they can trigger a hypersensitivity reaction.