Your pooch or furry friend is looking restless, shows poor eating habits lately. You notice it losing body weight and is not as active as you expect. You are a wonderful dog owner you are compelled to find out what is wrong with your companion. This furry guy is also displaying a persistent soft cough. This raises curiosity and concern as to what may be wrong.
All dog owners are showered with both print and mass media advertisements on heartworms preventatives and treatments from various product manufacturers claiming to offer the best solutions on dogs suffering from heartworm. All this information is flouted in magazines, books, the internet, televisions, where the authors of such information claims to have superior products for the prevention or treatment of parasitic infections.
All these can be confusing to you at this crucial time when your companion isn’t feeling well. A decision on what or which product to settle for becomes tricky. But a solution has to be found to relieve your dog from feeling low and down.
What are heartworms? These are very small parasites transmitted by mosquitoes biting a dog on the skin. The dog can be a host to these parasites for a period which eventually turns out to translate to a disease affecting the dog’s heart. Heartworm infection is preventable and treatable. The following are red flags to look for in a dog. Be alert in recognizing symptoms in an infected canine.
Signs your dog may have heartworms
No tangible symptoms except for a soft persistent cough. Detection of a respiratory problem at a high level of infection is that insistent cough. The pooch displays shallow breathing or shortness of breath.
Fatigue in your dog
Fatigue or lethargy will cause a lack of energy and is likely to cause it to lay down most of the time, refusing to exercise, and stays in the house all the time. The dog can faint or pass out at times in case of an onset of any regular exercise or activity.
Change of eating habits
Dog changes their eating habits when they’re infected by heartworms. Decrease in appetite naturally causes weight loss in your pooch. As a dog owner, take note that heartworms are the cause of that emaciated dog in your yard or home. It is advisable to take your dog to a licensed veterinarian as fast as you can. He will examine it and rules out any other different infection or detect an infection.
How long does heartworm last in dogs?
The parasite’s larvae take approximately six to seven months to grow into adult heartworm which lives in your dog’s heart and interferes with the host’s heart’s ability to pump blood. The lungs and arteries of your dog can now be affected or infected. These heartworms can be hosted in a dog’s heart for as long as five to seven years.
How to keep a dog inactive during heart-worm treatment
First, it is prudent to know and actualize the five steps to follow in the diseases’ treatment protocols. These are the five steps to follow.
Pre-treatment-prescription of doxycycline for thirty days: The drug is administered as an oral tablet and at this stage, there is a restricted activity.
Treatment from the adult heart-worms: Injection from melarsomine for four to six weeks followed by two other injections given at an interval of twenty-four hours apart. The adult worms are killed by these injections as they can cause blockage in your dog’s blood vessels. This calls for your dog staying calm in a shelter or cage to enable it to have rest during this period of treatment.
Recovery session: A total rest is recommended. Cage your dog as advised by your vet.
Re-testing for heartworms after treatment
This helps in making sure that the worm has all been killed and your furry friend is now ready to jump from here to there at ease. You may wonder why you need to cage your dog during this treatment duration. Why does your dog need to be restricted from exercising for all these days? Won’t it be bored?
Killing these heartworms in your dog for that length of time is essential for restoring its health. This can only be achieved by killing the worms completely.
The worms are known to grow in length as long as a foot or more. Eliminating these worms from your dog’s body is extremely important. If left untreated, the disease can progress and damage your dog’s vital organs such as kidneys, liver and heart. They can block blood vessels in the lungs. When these vessels are blocked there arises blood clot in the pulmonary which is fatal.
Any increase in your dog’s heart rate due to any form of activity, like running around or excitement may force the worm pieces into the lungs increasing the chances of pulmonary embolism.
Your dog needs to be leashed as you take it out to urinate or pooh. The leash will control it from running around.
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Assist your dog to kill the boredom from staying caged or staying indoors during and after heartworms treatment by giving it company and creating a quiet environment, avoid outsiders who might cause your dog to be excited by barking unnecessarily.
Train your dog not to feed very fast by introducing feeding toys or puzzle feeders that will require your dog to extract food.
Minimize transporting and relocating dogs whether you are traveling or relocating to a new environment. Avoid movement with your dog before or during an exhibition or competition. This is not the right time to take your dog for sale or research purposes. Avoid the spread of infection or contaminating disease.
Keeping your dog calm and quiet during this time of heartworm treatment will help the in the complete recovery of your furry friend. Before resuming any increased activity or reintroduction of normal dog exercise, you need to talk to your veterinarian who will be able to assist you and your dog to have a gradual reintroduction to the increased activity and exercise.