Heartworms are a type of parasite that can often cause several issues for a dog who has them. While it’s often possible to protect your canine with heartworm medicine (which can often be prescribed by your veterinarian), your pet could contract the parasite if they’re bitten by an infected mosquito and you don’t use any form of heartworm prevention.
Since this can often lead to serious health problems and even death in a heartworm host, it’s often a good idea to make sure that your little one is properly protected. However, what can you do if your canine companion has already contracted heartworm disease?
What are heartworms?
Unfortunately, without heartworm prevention, it can be quite easy for a dog to contract these types of parasites. All it can take is an infected bite for your little one to get heartworms and if not dealt with fast enough, the consequences can be serious and even fatal.
As the worms mature, it’s likely that they’ll begin to work their way into your dog’s heart, lungs and the associated blood vessels – and once they’re inside, they can often grow to a foot long. In some instances, a canine can be infected with hundreds of these parasites, which is why getting treatment as soon as possible can often be vital.
Heartworm treatment for dogs
If you think that your little one may have heartworms, you may want to know what to expect from the treatment that they receive. While this can often depend on different factors, your dog may need:
In most cases, medication will be important no matter what stage of heartworm disease your pet has, although the types of substances needed may vary depending on the severity of the condition. Sometimes, several types of medications (such as doxycycline and prednisone) and even injections may be necessary to kill the parasites and prevent the infection from worsening.
If the heartworm issue is more severe, the only option to get rid of them may be surgery. While removing the parasites from the heart, and sometimes the vessels in their lungs, can be quite a risky process; it may be the only chance of preventing them from killing your pet.
In most cases, limiting your canine’s exercise before, during and after can be crucial to the success of their treatment program. While most dogs will want to run around, play and be active, it’s often best to restrict their exercise as much as possible while dealing with heartworms.
Talk to your vet
If you’re worried that your pet may have heartworms, or you are unsure about how to treat the disease, it’s often best to get in touch with an expert who could help. Generally, your veterinarian will be able to provide all the information you need to do what’s best for your furry friend.