Dog Heartworm Symptoms Cough Is First Sign
Heartworms: What it is
Heartworm disease long term is derived from a Heartworm infection caused by a parasitic roundworm. The roundworm parasite known as Dirofilaria immitis is spread by mosquito bites. The perfect host for the worm is the dog. While in the dog the worm matures, and also reproduces while in the dog.
Point to note is of all the dog heartworm symptoms cough is the common and most prevalent sign. The growth of the worm will also result in rigorous lung disease, cardiac failure and other organ damage. All this ends up in a eventual death of the dog.
The worm cycle
The cycle starts with a mosquito biting an infected dog. The infected dog’s blood has microfilaria. Mosquito is infected and is now a transitional host. The offspring becomes larvae and grow to become infective while in the mosquito. The mosquito now has the infection. When the mosquito bites an uninfected dog, the dog becomes infected. The cycle repeats itself. The worms live with the dog generally for a period of five to seven years. In some cases the worm count in a dog may reach 250.
Signs and Symptoms of Heartworm Disease
Signs and symptoms of heartworms in dogs vary with the stage of infection. One thing you will notice is that in the dog heartworm symptoms cough is the most common symptom. The only thing that changes is its severity. This makes coughing the absolute initial warning and utmost early signs of heartworms in dogs.
Early signs of Heartworms
It will be easy to cure an infection if you detect the early signs and symptoms of heartworms in dogs. If your dog tires easily during a small amount of exercise then there are chances it’s infected. Also it will be very reluctant and highly intolerant to exercise.When you see the above signs coupled with a deep but soft coughing, then chances are your dog has heartworms. And the infection is still in its early stages. Anorexia is also a early sign your dog has heartworms.
Later stages of Heartworm Disease
Dog heartworm symptoms may turn out to be severe. Organ malfunction will cause severe pain to the dog. The dog will start losing weight drastically. In an exercise the dog will breathe profusely due to lung blockage or infection. At this point, the dog heartworm symptoms cough is elevated. It’s high to the level of making the dog faint when exhausted after an exercise. The dog’s chest swells and the ribs become more visible. Acute blood clotting in the heart will make the dog just collapse and die.
Heartworm Symptoms in Puppies
When it comes to puppies heartworm symptoms are not very different from that of dogs. It all starts with coughing but mild. The coughing worsens with time. The puppies become lazy and wearier. Tiredness is due to restricted muscle oxidation. The puppy will swell in its abdomen. This swelling together with jaundice, indicates the puppy has reached the later stages of infection. This seriousness of the condition makes the puppy lose appetite.
Treatment of heartworms
In Heartworm Treatment, the basic aim is to destroy the adult worm. Very rigorous heartworm disease though, may make treatment of the infection difficult. The basic method of destroying the adult worm is; adulticide therapy. Here an organic compound is used to eliminate the worm. Dogs may show improvement even before the adult heartworms are completely cleared. Therefore a antigen test for heartworms is essential. If the dog tests positive, the therapy may be redone. Another effective way is eradication of Microfilaria. Anthelmintics of ML type are used in this type of treatment. This treatment requires observation and therefore the dog may have to be admitted into a hospital for 8 hours or more.
In closing, heartworm treatment is costly and heartworm disease prevention is possible if you remember that of all the dog heartworm symptoms cough or a series of coughing is one of the true early signs of heartworms and a veterinarian should be consulted.
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