When you are the parent of a pet, you naturally provide you pet with a home. You are also responsible for your pet’s health and well-being.
Below are a few ways to keep your dog happy and healthy:
Dogs are a natural host for heartworms. The dog heartworm is a parasitic roundworm. Heartworms are spread from host to host through mosquito bites. Heartworm adults reside in the pulmonary arterial system as well as the heart, which has a major effect on the health of the dog. A heatworm infection can cause serious complications which can lead to death.
A persistent cough, not wanting to exercise, fatigue after a little activity, decreased appetite and weight loss are symptoms of heartworm disease. As the disease progresses the dog may have heart failure and a swollen belly.
The American Heartworm Society recommends you get your dog tested every 12 months and you give your dog heartworm preventive 12 months of the year.
This disease is very serious and the sooner it is detected the better your dog’s chances for survival. Your veterinarian can administer the test during an annual visit. The test is a blood test and the results are usually available quickly.
Puppies under 7 months can be started on heartworm prevention without being tested. Dogs over 7 months that have not been on a preventive need to be tested and started on a preventive.
Your Dog Has Tested Positive
- If your dog has tested positive, have your veterinarian confirm the diagnosis with another different test. Treatment is very expensive and you want to make sure the diagnosis is correct.
- As soon as the diagnosis is confirmed, you must restrict your dog’s activity. You don’t want any exertion put on the heart.
- Before treatment can begin, your dog’s symptoms need to be stabilized. The cough, fatigue and loss of appetite have be addressed. You don’t want any complications during the treatment.
- Your veterinarian will start a treatment protocol once your dog is stable. The protocol usually involves several steps according to the American Heartworm Society guidelines.
- Six months after the treatment is finished, your veterinarian will perform a test to make sure the treatment was successful.
Heartworm medications come in different forms, pills, topical medications or injections. All approved medications are effective. It is extremely important to eliminate heartworm before they reach adulthood. It is also extremely important to that your dog be treated with heartworm preventives every 12 month.
Remember as a doggie parent, it’s up to you to make sure your dog lives a happy and healthy life. Periodic veterinary visits area must. Testing annually for heartworm is also a must. Heartworm is a dangerous disease and early detection will result in a faster and better result.
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