Heartworm Disease

The Heartworm disease is an infection caused by the Difilaria parasite worm. This is a disease that can affect dogs of all ages and reports have shown that it rarely affects cats. The disease is easy transferable. All it takes is the transmission of infected larvae and the bite of an infected mosquito to spread it. Once the larvae are inside, it matures and reproduces in the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery of the heart. The parasite causes thickening and scarring of the pulmonary artery and other vessels, and it also enlarges the right ventricle. This can result in death or right-side heart failure.

Heartworm disease can occur anywhere as long as there are mosquitoes around. Dogs living in tropical and sub-tropical areas with mosquitoes are in grave danger of the disease. In these areas cases of Heartworm are diagnosed between two and four times a month.

A dog with Heartworm disease very rarely shows any signs of the disease. The only way of discovering the virus is when dogs are taken on their annual vet check up. Dogs that carry the disease usually show the following symptoms:

  • Exercise intolerance
  • A non-productive cough
  • Trouble breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Fainting spells

A Melarsamine drug is injected into the infected dog to treat the Heartworm disease. It is important that screening is done before the dog is treated. It is also good to know that in most cases the treatment of Heartworm disease is successful. However, there can be toxicity complications of the antidote. It is important that you have your dog treated on a yearly basis, because if it so happened that your pet has the virus, itís important to treat it in the early stages before manifestation occurs.

Heartworm disease can easily be prevented by a monthly oral medicine. There are a number of very effective medicines available at your veterinarian. Yearly testing is highly recommended though, and although the medicines available are effective, nothing can be 100%.

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