Sunday, October 25, 2009

Heartworms in Dogs

HeartWorm (Latin name Dirofilaria immitis) are parasitic worms that are common in dogs and cats. As their name suggests, they live in the heart of the dog, normally free to float in the right ventricle and nearby blood vessels. The worms are transmitted from dog to dog by mosquitoes which pass the worm larvae through their saliva. The presence of heartworms can be very dangerous to the health of your dog. Although the dog shows no signs of infection until it has achieved a lot, can be fatal thread and can be difficult to detect and diagnose.

Signs of heartworm infection

When a dog is first infected by the heart of the worm, there are literally no signs and the presence of cabling could not be detected, even with a blood test. Once the worm larva reaches the heart and matures, however, signs that are detectable by X-ray start to develop almost immediately. These include damage to the arteries around the heart and lungs. It is rare that a dog is infected by a worm, and the adult worms in the heart grow in size and number, the conditions deteriorate, eventually leading to a blockage of blood flow. It was then that the dog will be physical signs that may include pain, high blood pressure, breathing problems, lethargy or even fainting show. In very advanced cases, dogs suffering heart failure and death, but at the time of heart worm has reached this stage, the owners probably realized that something was wrong and sought veterinary care.

Treat the infection of the heartworm

Once the dog is diagnosed as having the heart to treatment should be started. What this treatment is and how it is administered depends on the stage of the infection to the heart. In general there are four stages of the heartworm.
  • Stage One - Dogs at the lowest risk - wired found in X-rays, but all other tests appear normal.
  • Second Phase - Dogs May be moderately contaminated, some difficulty breathing and coughing demonstrations
  • Step Three - Dogs are severely affected can and weight loss, have difficulty in breathing, blood tests and probably renal or liver damage
  • Step Four - Dogs have Vena Cava Syndrome and in shock, essentially dying - surgery may be undertaken to remove worms, but there is no guarantee that it will save the dog.
When it comes to the heart in dogs, prevention is truly the best medicine. The best time to start preventative treatment is early in puppy-hood, before the dog is seven months old since dogs older than seven months are at high risk of side effects of preventive treatments.


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