29 August 2022
Perhaps one of the scariest moments in pet ownership is finding out that your fur baby suffers from a parasitic illness. In the cases of heartworms, it is much more fearful as it attacks the most important, beating organ of your pet—the heart, including the lungs and blood vessels.
But do not panic. While you are no veterinarian, there are things you can do as a fur parent to alleviate the peril your pet is going through. First, know the basics of heartworm disease, how it could affect your dog, and what you can do about it.
Heartworms are thread-like roundworms that could grow to an average length of four to six inches for females and ten to twelve for males. A single dog could carry three hundred heartworms in its system, with a lifespan of up to five years for each adult worm. They come from mosquitos, which then live and propagate inside your dog’s body from a mosquito bite.
The effects could range from subtle coughing, vomiting, weight loss, and swollen bellies to severe symptoms such as heart failure, sudden collapse, and immediate death. As much as they are fatal, utmost attention and dedication from you and your dog’s veterinarian could treat and even prevent heartworms.
Indeed, prevention is better than cure. You do not want to get to the point where no intervention could ever save your canine friend, so be proactive in protecting them! Since you cannot predict which mosquitoes carry the disease, better keep them all out by maintaining overall cleanliness. Do not give them a chance to breed and infect your pets.
Aside from cleanliness, regular checkups are also a must. Frequent veterinary trips would help you detect the disease earlier if your dog got a parasitic infection. The doctor could then prescribe oral tablets, topical ointments, and injections to eliminate heartworms before the condition could worsen.
If your dog tests positive for heartworms, do not panic. If you could detect it earlier, the chances of survival are high. While nobody wants to hear that parasites live inside their furry friends, the cure is always attainable if you dedicate love, time, and effort during treatment.
Heartworm treatment usually includes medications, surgery, and restriction of physical activity. As the fur parent, you must ensure that your pet adheres to the treatment. Taking medications on time, proper dieting, and constant supervision lie in your hands. It is your part to set your dog up for success by showering them with love, care, and support.
Dogs can only rely on their owners when they suffer from an illness. Taking care of your dog when they have parasitic infections is imperative for you to do as the fur parent. When they test positive for heartworms, it is your duty to reach out to the appropriate people and provide them with the utmost care they need at the moment.