Last Updated on January 19, 2023 by Kunthida
INTRO – What Are Dog Heartworms?
Dog heartworms are nematodes of parasites that infect the subcutaneous tissue and cardiorespiratory system of dogs.
They can have serious consequences for the health of the animal, even fatal.
There are two types of rows that hit dogs:
Dirophilaria immitis: resides in the pulmonary arteries and the right ventricle of the host’s heart. It produces pathological alterations in the heart (cardiopulmonary dirofilariasis). It is the most pathogenic species.
Dirofilaria repens: it resides in the skin, affecting it (subcutaneous dirofilariasis), but can also reach internal organs. Ocular dirofilariasis can occur when immature or adult worms appear in the peripheral or internal ocular conjunctiva. It is responsible for most zoonotic infections in Europe.
Dirophilaria is transmitted to the dog (to a lesser extent to the cat) through the bite of several species of mosquitoes that have previously fed on an infected animal in hot climates.
Dog Heartworms: Low-Cost Prevention Beats Expensive, Risky Treatment
Using one of dog heartworms medicines monthly throughout the year will protect your precious pet from heartworm disease throughout his life. Responsible pet owners know heartworm prevention is as important as vaccinations for their dogs.
Dog Heartworms Prevention
A dog with a light infestation of heartworm may show no symptoms of the disease until the problem is well advanced and perhaps life-threatening. Severe cases may be found by your vet due to changes detected in the heart or lung function of the animal but a simple blood test will reveal the presence of adult heartworms.
The test strip used by your vet when testing your pet for heartworm will display a blue line when the disease is present. The line may be from light to darker blue with the color saturation indicating the level of the infestation.
Symptoms may be difficult to see but one of the most common is coughing and your vet may hear unusual lung sounds during a routine visit.
Dogs may lose consciousness briefly due to decreased blood flow to the brain and this may be confused with seizures which leave the dog disoriented for a few minutes.
A positive result from the blood test for heartworm may be followed up by an angiogram and ultrasound to determine the amount of damage caused to the animal’s organs. The antigen tests now used will not detect heartworm disease in its earliest stages but are accurate in detecting heartworms that are seven or eight months old.
The blood smear exam that is often part of a routine examination will verify the presence of heartworm disease but is not sensitive enough to rule out the early presence of the parasite.
Dog Heartworms Are Easy Preventable
It’s sad that so many dogs develop heartworm disease each year as this parasite is so easily preventable.
Mosquitoes carry the heartworm larvae and transmit it when they bite the animal. Dogs seem to be the perfect host though more than 30 species can be infected with heartworm disease.
Once transmitted by the mosquito, the heartworm larvae develop in the canine’s body and migrate after several months to reside in the lungs, the heart, and blood vessels.
The mature worms mate and microfilariae are released by the female into the dog’s bloodstream. From there the cycle begins again with mosquitos ingesting the microfilariae and transferring them to another dog.
Adult heartworms are large with males reaching 4-6 inches in length and females measuring 10-12 inches.
After a year of maturing, heartworms can live in dogs for five to seven years. A lightly infected animal may have one or two heartworms while another dog with a severe form of the disease can be host to as many as 250 of the threadlike parasites.
Popular Dog Heartworms Medicines
Heartworm medicine for dogs provides protection for the animal in a manner that is safe and cost-effective. There are topical treatments applied monthly and injections that shield the animal for six months at a time. The most popular dog heartworms medicines are:
Heartgard – Can be used after a diagnosis of heartworm disease and may be part of the treatment. Tasty wafers also treat hookworms and roundworms.
Sentinel -Should not be used for any animal that has tested positive for heartworm disease. Tablets are given monthly to kill heartworm larvae before they can grow and develop into a problem.
Revolution (selamectin) – A spot-on treatment with multiple benefits. Revolution is an effective heartworm medication for dogs and also protects from fleas and other parasites.
Interceptor – Can be used on puppies as young as 4 weeks and controls roundworms and hookworms, too. Safe to use on pregnant and lactating dogs.
Caring for animals during hot weather is important to maintaining their health. Indeed, many animals have suffered heatstroke simply from being left outside without shelter or enough water.
Follow summer pet care tips for making sure you keep your animals safe and sound during the hottest times of the year. One parasite every dog owner needs to be aware of is heartworms.
These parasites can lead to the death of a canine and indeed it is a slow and horrible death. Mosquitoes lay their larvae in the skin of your dog and they travel to the heart.
Once in the heart, these parasites grow larger and larger until the heart is literally suffocated.
Your vet can give you the right heartworm preventative for your dog.
If your pets stay outside all the time, you especially need to be aware of those things you can do to prevent trouble from heat.
Keep a fresh supply of water available at all times and add ice to it when possible.
Making sure your animals remain hydrated is the best way to prevent heat exhaustion and stroke.
Parasites like fleas and ticks are on the rise during the warmer months. These parasites can cause pets much misery and can also cause disease.
Tapeworms are from fleas that are digested while an animal is biting the areas they have bitten. Ticks can cause diseases like Lyme, a disease you and your family can get as well. Talk to your vet about flea and tick preventative for your pets, your home, and your yard.
The warmer months might seem like the perfect time to take your pets along with you shopping or to the park. While these trips are great, make sure you always visit those places you can take your pet along with you.
Leaving an animal in a hot car can cause heatstroke and even death. If you cannot take a pet with you to your destination, it is best to leave them safe at home.
Your summertime parties and celebrations may pose a threat to pets. While your guests may feel as though they are being kind in giving pets tidbits of food and drink, you never know when one of those foods will be bad for an animal. Always make arrangements for pets during your cookouts and parties ahead of time.
The celebrations you might enjoy that include fireworks can be a terrifying and disturbing event for your pets. If you are having a fireworks display at your home, make sure you have your pets tucked safely at a friend’s home or indoors in an area they can feel safe at.
This is particularly dangerous for the older pet that could be frightened right into cardiac arrest.
Being a responsible pet owner means you take time to follow summer pet care tips. Many animals have experienced serious heat exhaustion and stroke due to being left outdoors for too long without shelter or water. Make sure you keep an eye on your animals and any other animals you may know during the hotter months of the year.
Dog Heartworms: Prevention Against Roundworms
Dogs suffer from lots of parasitic worms and Roundworms in dogs are a common problem. Luckily some dog heartworms prevention medications like Heartgard Plus, Iverhart, and Interceptor also defend your dog from these.
This offers you as the pet owner the benefit of convenience, not having to remember to give an additional medicine for the control of roundworms in dogs and a cost-saving too as the medication does the job of two separate ones!
The benefit for your pet is in not having to take more medicine which has got to be a bonus!
Roundworms are often called ascarids and they’re about three to five in. long.
They live inside the dog’s digestive tract, moving about in the little gut, eating the partially digested food there.
Unfortunately, bitches can pass these worms to their pups before birth.
This is because of the fact that juvenile larvae are present in the muscles of the mother and when the hormonal changes of pregnancy take place in her body, this triggers the small larvae to be transmitted via the placenta and into the fetus, the developing puppy (or puppies) in her womb.
These awful tiny parasites can even be passed from mother to puppy by milk if the larvae are also present in her mammary glands. Once inside the pup, the parasites continue to develop and mature within the bowel.
Any dog may also get infected by ingestion of the roundworm eggs that are passed in the feces of contaminated dogs. In case your dog is a ‘digger’, hunts for mice or rats, licks its fur after walking on infected ground and so forth, it might end up eating eggs.
These will hatch inside the dog’s stomach and then the small larvae move through the dog’s body until they move back into the digestive tract and become adults. They lay eggs that are deposited in feces and therefore the cycle goes on.
Whilst roundworms are nowhere near as serious as heartworms, they can cause loss of condition, loss of appetite, and even sickness and loose stools.
Contaminated Puppies look pot-bellied and may even die if they have a large burden of worms that causes a blockage of the bowel.
Your puppy will require worming around two to three weeks old as though heartworm preventative medicines as pointed out above also treat these, this treatment doesn’t start until the puppy is a little older.
As canine roundworms could be transmitted to humans, it is vital to ensure that dog feces are removed quickly out of your garden and anyplace in which children play.
Serious consequences can arise if an individual becomes contaminated as the larvae travel throughout the body and may lodge in the eyes and lead to devastating blindness.
If you do not live in a heartworm area and your dog isn’t on the preventives stated above, talk to your veterinarian about a worming routine. Pregnant bitches need to be wormed to aid guard both her and her puppies.
Roundworms in dogs is a problem that should be given serious attention as even if the consequences are not damaging for the dog, it would be terrible to know that your child had been blinded because of consuming the eggs from a contaminated dog or puppy.
Pet medicine for canines under one year old is different than the prescriptions and over-the-counter pills given to older dogs. Puppies are still developing up to one year of age and they need special formulas when it comes to treating various illnesses.
Puppies also need several vaccinations, just as babies do, before they reach three months of age. This will prevent them from getting an array of diseases and, help them to develop a stronger immune system.
The breed of a dog will play a large part in the amount of medication he receives for different ailments. For example, a Chesapeake Bay retriever would need a larger dose of pills for heartworm preventative than a Sheltie.
Even if these two dogs are the same age, their size dictates they receive different amounts or strengths of preventative for heartworms.
Fleas and ticks are a common problem no matter where a dog lives or how clean his yard is kept. Most variety of the ticks will jump off the trees and onto a dog for a snack. If the dog has been treated for fleas and ticks, when the tick takes a bite of the dog, it should die and fall off in a matter of one hour.
Check with each individual product because some flea and tick formulas work slower than others.
Cats will get worms just as dogs do, even if they are strictly inside cats. Dogs can be a carrier for the worm or a cat could get into the garbage before it goes outside and eat uncooked meat which can give her worms.
A dewormer medication will have her worm-free in less than an hour. Most of the dewormer medication needs to be repeated in about 3 weeks.
Depending on their breed, many middle-aged dogs get ear infections. If the dog gets wet a lot, from swimming or bathing, it is important to dry off his ears with a towel immediately when he’s done.
This will prevent a yeast infection. Yeast infections hurt and could cause permanent damage.
Dogs will develop allergies to a variety of things just as their owners could. Some dogs become allergic to their food while other dogs develop allergies to pollen and grasses.
Dogs will show signs of allergies pretty much the same as humans do, with coughing, itching, and watery eyes. Tests can be done to determine what your dog is allergic to or you may want to treat the allergies with a low-dose medication to see if that helps.
Puppies often get dry, itchy skin or yeast infections on their skin. An anti-fungal cream applied to the affected area might be the best or an oral antibiotic may help to clear it up. Try to discourage the pup from scratching.
This may sound difficult but distractions might help. If they don’t, use an e-collar, the large plastic collars that go around the puppy’s head so she can’t reach around to bite at something.
Pet medicine for canines under one-year-old could be obtained at the vet’s office or at one of the many online vendors. Some of the online venues do not require a prescription for many of the medications but some are required by law to speak with the vet or see a prescription via email or fax.
Wherever one chooses to purchase their medications for their pet, be sure to label them clearly so as not to mix them up with family medications.