Heartworm infection is a fatal disease in dogs and cats. Most of the pet owners are not aware of why they need to give their pets heartworm preventives. Heartworm infestation makes pets sick and can even take a toll on their lives if not detected and treated in early stages. Dogs and cats of any age become victims of this disease, and face serious consequences.
Caused by ten-inch long parasite called Dirofilaria immitus, Heartworms directly attack lungs and heart. They will live in the heart and adjacent blood vessels in infected dog. When they multiply in number, they block pulmonary arteries and cause heart failure in dogs and cats. Therefore, it becomes vital for every pet parent to take precautions to protect their pets from this deadly disease by providing heartworm preventives.
There are different medications available that help to fight heartworm infection and there are ways to prevent this disease before it attacks your pets.
Here are few steps to follow to prevent heartworm infection in pets.
- Administer medicines to your pets to prevent heartworms that only attack heart but also lungs after consulting your vet.
- Some heartworm medications are given through injections and some are administered orally.
- Prescribed heartworm medicines are effective but not to be given to dogs that are already infected, as serious complications can occur.
- Infected dogs usually exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, mild persistent cough, lack of appetite, difficulty in breathing after low space exercise, and weight loss.
- Dogs at early stage of heartworm infection may not show any symptoms, therefore should be diagnosed for the disease before providing treatment.
- If you are living in warmer climate, it is crucial to provide heartworm preventive medications for a year around. Mosquito breeding season is becoming longer even in North, due to rise in usual temperature.
- It is important to treat indoor dogs also. As mosquitoes are everywhere and they can even come indoors. Moreover, when pets go outside for urinating or defecating, mosquitoes bite them.
- Regularly treat your dog with heartwormers, if you are living near a pond, lake, river, wooded area, stream, damp area or heavily infected area.
- Check your surroundings where mosquitoes can breed and multiply. Keep them clean and free from heavy bushy grass. Turnover and empty any container or any other vessel that can hold water including buckets, tires or cans. Clean out rain gutters to stop mosquitoes from breeding.
- During dusk, if possible keep your dogs indoors because mosquitoes are more active during that time. If you want to take your pet for a walk or have to let dogs outside to urinate or defecate, take them before dusk.
- Limit taking out dogs outdoors during night as mosquitoes that carry heartworm infection are also active at night.
Some Tips to Consider
- Take proper care of your dog to help them fight heartworm infection easily.
- Provide them good nutritious food that promotes healthy body and good immune system to fight off this disease.
- Heartworm prevention medications have additional benefit of preventing intestinal worms that are harmful to both humans and pets.
- Tree hole mosquitoes are the worst carriers of heartworm larvae. Commonly found in North America, they breed and live in tree holes and tree stumps. To control or eliminate tree hole mosquitoes, ask a tree surgeon how to fill or repair a hole, crotch or cavity in a tree where water may stand.
It is better to follow these simple steps and protect your pets from heartworm infestation rather than seeing them suffering
from the disease. Although treatments are available for heartworm infestation, it is always good to give them preventives, as it is less expensive than your pet’s sufferings and heartworm preventative products.