Heartworms in Dogs – Beat the It Out of Your Pekingese’s System


Heartworms in Dogs – Beat the It Out of Your Pekingese’s System

Heartworms in dogs or Dirofilaria immitis and is a very dangerous kind of parasite. It is more prevalent in dogs though it can also be seen in cats and other animals. It generally resides in the right side of their heart, pulmonary arteries and lungs. Cats are more resistant to heartworms compared to dogs.

The life cycle of a heartworm is around 6-7 months. A larvae from an infected female mosquito would be deposited where the coat is at its thinnest. The larvae would then burrow itself into the skin and change in form, move into the veins and go to the heart. In the next 3-4 months, adult worms would develop. Adult heartworms could inhabit inside the dog’s heart for 5 years and grow up to 12 inches. The worms then mate and produce lots of offspring that would then live in toe smaller blood vesseld whouch would then cause liver and lung problems due to blocked blood flow.

By the time your dog would show the signs, it is already in the advanced phase. Dogs can have as many as 40-250 heartworms, and the severity of the disease woudl depend on the number of worms present and their location. Some signs would include cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, anemia, swelling in the abdomen, bloody stool or sputum, bulging chest and jaundice.

Heartworms in Dogs

Dogs are considered the definitive host for heartworms ( Dirofilaria immitis). However, heartworms may infect more than 30 species of animals (e.g., coyotes, foxes, wolves and other wild canids, domestic cats and wild felids, ferrets, sea lions, etc.) and humans as well. When a mosquito carrying infective heartworm larvae bites a dog and transmits the infection, the larvae grow, develop and migrate in the body over a period of several months to become sexually mature male and female worms. These reside in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels. As mature adults, the worms mate and the females release their offspring (microfilariae), into the blood stream.

Source: Heartworm Society, http://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/canine-heartworm.html

Getting Rid of a Dog’s Heartworm

  • Blood Test. Take him to the vet for a blood test and xray to see if he has heartworms and what extent it is already.
  • First Part of the Treatment. Go set up an appointment with your vet for treatment. The first step is for your vet to kill the adult worms using 2 chemical treatments which contains arsenic.
  • Keep your dog rested. During all parts of the treatment, keep him well rested. After his first phase of treatment, dead worms could clog up his system, so don’t work him up until the worms are excreted from his system.
  • Go back for the 2nd treatment. Weeks later go back to your vet for the second phase of treatment. This is the time that your dog has to stay with your vet for a couple of days before going home.
  • Surgery. In case you have an old dog with you, consider having a surgery to get rid of the worms. This is due to the fact that the medicines used to kill the worms could harm the senior dog since they have a weaker immune system.

Heartworms in dogs can hinder the function of their heart, liver and lungs and other organs which could eventually kill your beloved companion. Preventive measures can be done like giving them their dose of anti-parasitic medicines which also can kill heartworms every 3 months or so in order to prevent any development of such worms in their system.  If you are hesitant of doing the preventive measures yourself, you could always consult your vet to that he/she could help you out with it and simply follow his/her instructions for you.

Has this been informative to you? Is your pet clear from heartworms? Share your pet-related problems or other stories with us. Don’t also forget to like our page.



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