Your Dog and Heartworm

Did you know that April is Heartworm Awareness Month? Heartworm is one of the most dangerous medical issues our canine friends can face. It is also among the most preventable. In this article, your Sugar Land veterinarian goes over some basic facts about heartworm.

What Is Heartworm?

Heartworms are a parasite, which infest dogs that have been bitten by infected mosquitos. Once heartworms have infested a dog, they travel through the bloodstream to the heart and lungs. Although heartworms may be tiny, invisible larvae when they first infect Fido, they can grow to about a foot in length. As the infestation continues, your dog can suffer severe health problems. If left untreated, heartworms can be fatal.

Symptoms

Coughing is one of the most common, and often earliest, symptoms of a heartworm infestation. As the condition progresses, Fido may start to lose his breath easily. He may tire out quickly, and become reluctant to run, play, or jump. Vomiting and lethargy are also possible indications of heartworm. That said, it is important to note that some dogs do not show symptoms until an infestation is quite serious.

Prevention

Fortunately, heartworm is easily preventable. You can keep your beloved dog safe from these horrible parasites simply by administering preventative medicine. Most of the time, Fido’s heartworm medication will be given on a monthly basis. You will need to have your dog tested for heartworm before giving him heartworm prevention.

Treatment

It’s much, much easier to protect your canine pal from heartworms than it is to treat him for them. Fido can be successfully treated for heartworm, but the treatments can be quite expensive and can also be quite rough on your poor pup. The exact methods of treatment needed will depend on your dog’s age, weight, and overall health, as well as the severity of the infestation. Medication may work in some cases, but with more severe infestations, Fido may need to be kenneled for long periods of time. Surgery may be needed for severe infestations. Even if the heartworm treatment is successful, there could be long-lasting repercussions. Your dog may need to restrict his activity, and may be put on a special diet.

Do you know or suspect that your dog has heartworm? Does Fido need heartworm tests or medications? Please don’t hesitate to contact us. As your Sugar Land vet clinic, we are here to help!