Heartworm is an infection, which is common to dogs though other animals can also be infected like cats and foxes. This is caused by a round worm that your pet can get from mosquito bites. This worm is a parasite that will live on your pet’s body and find its way into its heart. A dog will not show any symptoms that it has heartworm until the worm reached its adult stage. The dog will feel weak and can experience fainting, coughing of blood and even heart failure. There are medicines, which are administered monthly for dogs to prevent heartworm. Annual blood check up of your dog is also important as this test can determine if your dog has heartworm. However, if you see any of the said symptoms on your dog, go to the vet immediately to have your pet treated.
Here are the steps on how to treat heartworm.
- Have your dog checked. The vet will perform several tests to see if your dog has heartworm. If it does, other tests will also determine the stage of the disease. The overall health of your pet will be checked as well. The liver, heart, kidney and other organs of your dog will also be checked so the doctor will know the medicine and treatment that he can give your dog.
- Let your dog take its medicines. The vet will provide your dog medicines to treat heartworm. The doctor will give you the instruction on the dosage and administration of the medicine. Medicines for this disease are widely available so you will surely not have any problem in getting the medicines that your pet needs. An arsenic-based compound is usually given for dogs with heartworm as this is proven to kill the worm.
- Allow your pet to rest. Just like humans, animals like dogs also need to rest after getting sick. Prevent your dog from walking outside and let it stay on its dog bed. This is to let your dog recover from the disease and medications taken. Your dog needs your best care during this time. This will also allow the body of your dog to absorb the dead worm.
- Go back to the vet. You will be asked to return your dog to the clinic so the vet can check if the heartworm has been treated. The vet will also give your dog medicines it needs to take for its recovery. A blood test will usually be done to check your dog’s status. If the heartworm has been cured, make sure that your dog takes the medicines that it needs for complete recovery. If the heartworm is still there, your doctor will give other medicines or try other treatments that can cure the disease. However, if the case is severe, surgery can be possibly done to remove the worm on your dog’s heart. Ask the vet on the risks that your dog can face if it undergoes surgery. If it’s the only option and you’re willing to give it a try, your dog will be scheduled for a surgery to remove the worm.
Treating your dog’s heartworm is very important not only to save your pet’s life but also to prevent the disease from spreading to other animals. If an infected dog is bitten by a mosquito, there’s a big possibility that the disease will be carried over to other animals, which the mosquito bites.