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Dog Heartworms

Heartworm in dogs is a very serious and dangerous disease, which can also be fatal.



This condition is more prevalent in the western region, which has large open fields or in the countryside or rural areas, where mosquitoes are found in abundance. The disease is called heartworm, as the heart of the infected dog, gets invaded by parasites.

Dog heartworm symptoms


The first symptom of this disease is coughing.



The movement of the parasites from the heart to the lungs results in symptoms quite similar to pulmonary diseases like lung cancer, which makes the disease difficult to detect. Unlike other worms or parasites, these heartworm causing parasites do not have an affect on the dog’s fur coat. Instead, they affect the internal organs of the dog, which could have a more serious repercussion.



Apart from coughing, canines suffering from heartworm could display intolerance towards exercising or other physical activities. Other signs of dog heartworm include: loss in appetite and weight, lethargy, dyspnea, fever, hemorrhage and weakness.

Dog heartworm causes


The eggs of the parasites get deposited into the dog’s bloodstream, which are then transported into the body, till they reach the dog’s heart. These parasites multiply twofold, once they find their way into the right ventricle. An excess of these parasites could create problems, for the other vital organs of the dog. It could cause the liver to shut down and the veins to function abnormally. A failure of the heart causes the entire system to fail. Moreover, eventually these parasites find their way into the lungs of the dog, leading to further complications. Dog heart worms are a rather seasonal disease, which is why dogs can be protected from it and the disease can be prevented.

Dog heartworm treatments


It is much better to have the dogs immunized and vaccinated to prevent them from being infected by heartworms, as the treatment for this condition, may not always be feasible. Pet owners may actually have to carefully consider whether they want to get the dog treated or not. The use of medication may succeed in killing the parasite; however, in case the dead worms obstruct the flow of blood to the lungs, it could lead to the danger of embolism. However, if the treatment is successful, the dog will feel much better. Therefore, despite the slim chance of death, it is strongly recommended that this condition be treated as soon as possible.

 
  Submitted on May 10, 2010