Dogs are one of the most beloved pets around the world, and it’s essential to take care of their health. Heartworms are one of the most common concerns for dog owners, and it’s crucial to know how to detect, treat, and prevent them. In this article, we’re going to discuss how dogs can survive heartworms, and provide you with some tips and advice on what you need to know!
What Are Heartworms?
Heartworms are parasitic worms that usually infect the pulmonary arteries, heart, and lungs of an animal. They are usually transmitted through mosquito bites and can be fatal if not treated on time. Heartworms can lead to heart, liver, and lung damage, and in severe cases, it can cause heart failure and death.
How to Detect Heartworms in Dogs?
Detecting heartworms in dogs is the first step towards treating them. There are several symptoms that you need to look out for, including:
- Loss of Appetite
- Weight Loss
- Fatigue and lethargy
The Diagnostic Tests for Heartworms in Dogs
The following are some diagnostic tests used to detect heartworms in dogs:
- Antigen Test: This test detects the presence of adult worms in the blood of the dog.
- Microfilaria Test: This test helps detect juvenile heartworms in the blood of the dog.
- Chest X-Ray: A chest x-ray can identify lung damage caused by heartworms.
- Heart Ultrasound: This test helps detect heartworms and measure the severity of the damage caused by them.
Can Dogs Survive Heartworms?
Yes, dogs can survive heartworms; however, the success of treatment depends on several factors. The earlier you detect heartworms in your dog, the more likely it is for your dog to survive. The severity of the heartworm infection and medical conditions also affect the success of treating heartworms. The treatment process can be expensive and lengthy; therefore, prevention is always better than cure.
What Are the Treatment Options for Heartworms?
Treating heartworms in dogs involves several steps, including:
- Diagnostics tests to evaluate the stage and severity of the heartworm infection
- Stabilization of the dog’s health using medications to control symptoms such as cough, fever, and vomiting
- Medications to eliminate adult heartworms and microfilaria in the bloodstream.
- Regular veterinary checkups and exercise restrictions for six to eight weeks
- Preventive medication to prevent re-infection
The Risks of Heartworm Treatment
The treatment process for heartworms is risky and can cause complications, such as:
- Blood clots
- Respiratory distress
- Anaphylactic shock
Your veterinarian will discuss the possible risks and benefits of treatment with you to ensure that you make an informed decision.
How to Prevent Heartworms in Dogs?
Preventing heartworms in dogs is essential, and there are several ways to do so, including:
- Yearly Heartworm Test: It’s crucial to get your dog tested for heartworms at least once a year to detect and treat them early.
- Year-Round Preventive Medication: Monthly preventives such as heartworm pills, topical medications, or injections are used to prevent heartworm infections.
- Mosquito Control: Keep your surroundings mosquito-free by getting rid of stagnant water and using insecticides.
Heartworms in dogs can be fatal if undetected and untreated. It’s important to take measures to prevent heartworms by testing your dog annually and using preventive medication all year round. If you suspect that your dog has heartworms, seek veterinary help immediately. With the right treatment and care, dogs can survive heartworms, but prevention is always better than cure.
Q. Can Heartworms Be Transmitted from Dogs to Humans?
A. No, Heartworms cannot be transmitted from dogs to humans.
Q. Can Heartworms Be Cured Without Treatment?
A. No, heartworms can’t be cured without treatment. If left untreated, heartworms can be fatal for dogs.
Q. What Happens If You Don’t Treat Heartworms in Dogs?
A. Untreated heartworm infections can lead to heart, lung, and liver damage and, in severe cases, death.
Q. Can You Treat Heartworms at Home?
A. No, it’s not recommended to treat heartworms at home. The treatment process involves several steps and medications that should only be prescribed by a veterinarian.
Q. Can Heartworms Return After Treatment?
A. Yes, Heartworms can return after treatment. That’s why preventive measures and annual testing are crucial for the health of your dog.