Carrying these worms within the dogs' bodies can result in heart failure, weight loss, vision impairment, shortness of breath and eventually death. Since the symptoms are different from one dog to the next, the only way to protect your dog from heartworm is a regular visit to the veterinarian. Normally, when your dog starts showing physical symptoms, the disease has possibly reached an irreversible and uncurable point
Dogs get heartworm infections after they are bitten by mosquitoes that are infected with this parasite. Mosquitoes become infected with this parasite after biting an infected dog. So as you can see it a constant cycle between mosquitoes and dogs transmitting this parasite back and forth.
Here are some signs to look for to possibly treat your dog before it is too late.
1. Previously highly active dogs tend to tire quicker than before.
2. A normally healthy dog starts to gasp harder and struggle to breathe.
3. Coughing becomes more common.
4. Hunting or running dogs can no longer keep up their normal stamina.
5. A sudden problem in vision.
6. Sudden and quick loss of weight and body mass.
One common myth among who contracts heartworms is that only long-haired breeds get them. The fact is any dog is prone to them. No matter what breed you have, get your vet to check the dog out for heartworm.
The easiest way to prevent your dog from getting this disease is to keep them on a monthly heartworm preventative, like Sentinel, Heartgard, or Interceptor.
If your dog has never been on a preventative before, your veterinarian will do a simple blood check to be sure that your dog is not infected with Dirofilaria Immitus already.
Heartworms can be a very devastating disease in dogs and even cats. It is very important that you keep your dog on a monthly heartworm preventative if prescribed by your veterinarian. In most southern states, pet owners are often told to keep their dogs on all year prevention.
Missing just one monthly dose can mean exposing your dog to this deadly disease, so make sure you remember to give the dose at the same time every month.