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What are the Symptoms and Treatment of Heartworm?


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A roundworm parasite found in southern climate, Heartworm Disease have been affecting several domestic and wild animals such as cats, dogs, wolves, muskrats, coyotes in the US, Canada, Alaska, and along Gulf Coast and Mississippi River since 1856 up to this day causing damage to the hearts and lungs of their hosts and eventually killing them as they grow in number inside the hosts’ right side of the heart.

Dirofilaria immitis or Heartworm Disease is carried by mosquitoes that ingested microfilariae or the eggs of female adult worms from the blood of an infected anima that they suck. These microfilariae grow and become larvae in the mouth of the mosquitoes where they stay. The larvae leaves the mouth of the mosquito when the mosquito bites another animal; these larvae enter the skin and muscle tissues where they could find way to reach the right side of the heart and mature there until they become adult worms. The process by which they go to the heart from the skin and muscles is not known though. Mosquitoes are said to be the main host of heartworm disease as they bite the dog and transmit the eggs in just a single bite.

According to studies and researches made by concerned sectors such as the heartworm society, of all the 30 and more species, it’s the canine or the dogs that has the highest rate of infected bodies because of heartworm disease. Mosquito-populated areas are likewise the breeding ground of this disease; hence when the mosquito reaches its peak season, heartworm is transmitted the fastest.

Since heartworm disease infects every dog in a different degree depending on the health of the dog and the growth and number of the adult worms inside their bodies, the symptoms of heartworm disease for every dog differs. A dog that has heartworm disease may not show any symptom of heartworm disease until a certain time when the worms have grown in number. The most common symptom identified is when the dog coughs frequently. Coughing and coughing up blood may indicate that their pulmonary artery and the blood vessels are not working well. The artery and blood vessels may be damaged already and irritated because of the adult worms. The inflammation of pulmonary artery could lead to pulmonary hypertension that causes too much pressure especially back pressure from clogged blood vessels. Abnormal blood circulation hence will happen. Coughing up blood may also indicate that the blood does not flow smoothly and normally through the blood vessels affecting the vena cava and pulmonary arteries. Urine that has some blood may also indicate a damaged urinary system. Furthermore, intolerance to tiring activities is also considered a symptom. It is said that your dog may already be infected with heartworm when they seems exhausted and very tired even after just a short walk or brief play. Heartworm causes distress to the respiratory system thus affecting other body systems in functioning properly.

Through filtration and occult, heartworm disease may be detected in the blood of the host. The microfilariae in the blood may be detected. Once detected, treatment procedures such as chemical therapy, surgery or providing dog pills against heartworm development may be advised by the veterinarian to help save the life of your dog.

Heartworm disease is a parasitic roundworm that develops inside the right side of the heart. These worms damage it and lessen the efficiency of the lungs and liver amongst the other vital organs of the body.


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