Heartworm is one of the common heart diseases among most dogs. Known as Dirofilaria Immitis, the heartworm or dog heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that looks like a small thread-like creature.
It spreads from the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no simple way to tell if the mosquito is infected, hence, every dog must be prevented from heartworm.
American Heartworm Society (AHS) reported that the case of heartworm in Dogs has increased by 21 percent in recent years. Almost 200 dogs get infected each year.
Stage of Metamorphosis
It generally takes about seven months for larvae, once it is inside a host, to mature into adult heartworm. They then lodge themselves into the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing. Adult heartworms can grow up to 12 inches in length and can live 5-7 years. A dog can be infected with as many as 250 worms in its system.
Although it affects the heart, the adult parasites often reside in the pulmonary arterial system (lung arteries).
7 Symptoms of Heartworm in Dogs
Some of the common symptoms of heartworm disease are as follows;
- A soft and dry cough
- Inactivity or lethargy
- Weight loss or anorexia
- Rapid or difficulty breathing
- Bulging chest
- Allergic reaction
The best thing is that it can be treated successfully with safe treatments available in most veterinary centers and pet hospitals.
How to Prevent Heartworm Disease in Dogs
The heartworm in Dogs can be prevented with monthly chewable tablets. The drugs approved for use in the US are Ivermectin (sold under the brand names Heartgard, Iverhart, and several other generic versions), Milbemycin (Interceptor Flavor Tabs and Sentinel Flavor Tabs), and Moxidectin (ProHeart) administered as pills or chewable tablets.
The preventive measures are recommended year-around in the regions with higher temperature. Annual heartworm testing is highly recommended for pet owners who choose to use minimal dosing schedules. Get in touch with veterinary care in Des Moines to know more about Heartworm prevention.