Heartworm is a very common condition in domestic dogs. Most dogs receive a heartworm vaccine as puppies, but what about the dogs that don’t get this vital vaccination? Untreated dogs can suffer from serious health problems, and are likely to die if the heartworm infestation goes unchecked.
You need to understand all the symptoms of heartworm so you can recognize them if your dog ever contracts this condition. This is especially important if your dog came from a shelter, pet store, or has an unknown medical history. Puppies that did not get their appropriate shots are at risk. If you know the symptoms of heartworm, you will be able to treat your dog as soon as possible in the event of an infestation.
Depending on how long your dog has had heartworm, symptoms will vary. Tiredness, coughing, and dull coat are the telltale symptoms of heartworm. The spread of parasites can result in rapid weight loss, fainting, or difficulty breathing. Symptoms may also include jaundice, rapid pulse, blindness, convulsions, or vomiting. Regardless of whether or not your dog has heartworm, these are serious symptoms. If you notice that your dog has any of these symptoms, you should immediately consult your veterinarian.
As the name indicates, heartworm mainly affects the heart, but other parts of the body are also affected. Heartworm can also affect the kidneys, liver, or lungs. Due to the fact that there are so many symptoms, the condition is often confused with other health problems. If you think your pet might be suffering from kennel cough or asthma, you should be sure to have your dog checked out by a vet. When pet owners mistake heartworm symptoms for something else this can be very harmful for the health of your dog.
A blood test is needed in order to get a definite diagnosis of heartworm. Even if your dog does not present symptoms, you should test your dog if it has an unclear medical history. This way you can be positive that your dog is healthy. You should also get your dog tested if you live in an area that has high mosquito exposure. Don’t take a gamble on your pet’s health.
You can give your dog the best chance at health by preventing heartworm infection. It can be troublesome to diagnose this condition and in some cases diagnosis comes too late. If your pet is diagnosed after infection, then it will likely suffer serious internal damage. You will want to avoid the emotional stress and the financial cost of treating heartworm if possible. Take preventative measures and your dog will stay healthy for years to come.