Identifying Heartworm in Your Animals

by Anza Goodbar
(last updated February 17, 2012)

1

Heartworms are parasites that are common in dogs and cats. It is transmitted by mosquitoes that bite an infected animal then go on to bite a non infected animal. They are small white worms that can grow up to five inches long. They are called heartworms due to the fact that they congregate around the heart and oxygen rich arteries leading from the lungs to the heart.

Heartworms are easy and inexpensive to prevent. Heartworm treatment can be expensive and dangerous for the animal and it can even lead to death. That is why pet owners should protect their animals by having them tested and administering preventative medicine. This medicine acts like a vaccine, killing the heartworm larvae before they can develop into adults. The only way heartworm can be contracted is through mosquito bites.

Heartworm symptoms don't manifest until the heartworms have grown to maturity. Annual check-ups can diagnose the problem before the larvae has fully developed and lodge in the animals heart. Since symptoms don't occur until the worm has attached to the heart walls, diagnosis can be too late if not detected early.

If your pet contracts a cough that doesn't go away in a short period of time or if he becomes lethargic and refuses any kind of physical activity call the Vet. These could be signs of heartworm. While these are signs of heartworm, they are also symptoms of other ailments that need medical attention.

The Vet can test for larvae, if found he will order an x-ray to determine if any worms have lodged themselves to the heart walls. The findings of the x-ray will determine the treatment. If adult worms are found, treatment of an arsenic based medicine will be administered to kill the adult worms. Normal treatment is two injections over the course of two days. Once the worm dies, it is naturally expelled from the heart. It is essential to keep the animal from exerting too much energy. If the worm particles are expelled to quickly it could cause an embolism and even death. After six weeks, the Vet will start the animal on an oral medication to kill any remaining larvae.

Heartworm can be a dangerous disease for pets. The best way to protect your pet is to have annual check-ups where he is tested for heartworm and taking monthly preventative medicine. Should your pet display signs of being infected, seek veterinary care immediately.

Author Bio

Anza Goodbar

Anza is a single mother of four who makes her home in Colorado. She enjoys writing, hiking and is an avid football and hockey fan. She is the owner of a virtual business services company; writing is just one of the many services her company offers. ...

MORE FROM ANZA

Eliminating Cockroaches

The best way to eliminate cockroaches is to prevent them in the first place. Keeping the house clean is the best way to ...

Discover More

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes can be boring. Jazz them up for the holidays or special occasions by adding bourbon and orange juice.

Discover More

Lazy Day Peach Cobbler

Cobblers are tasty and easy to make. This recipe makes them even easier.

Discover More

Keep Mice Away! Rodent Defense Mice Repellent is a must-have tool for eliminating or preventing mice. All-natural ingredients are nontoxic and can be used safely around children and pets. Create a barrier to mice around your home! Check out Rodent Defense Mice Repellent today!

More Pest Tips

Common Human Parasites

For many people when you ask them what the most common human parasites are, they will typically say something about family or ...

Discover More

Protecting Household Pets from Parasites

Exercising a little common sense, keeping your home clean, and making regular visits to your vet can help protect your ...

Discover More

Symptoms of Parasites

Everyone knows that parasites are no good, and that it is frankly a rather experience to have them. But do you know what the ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three more than 5?

2013-08-11 08:47:34

James Leech

I highly recommend salt for this too