Prevent and Treat Heartworms in Dogs

Author: Mosquito Squad

Please remember: We’re experts at killing mosquitoes, not the diseases they carry. If you have a medical concern, please consult your pet’s veterinarian immediately.

Protecting our loved ones from all hurt, harm and danger is one of the most important and vital parts of our lives. Dogs have become a part of many individuals’ lives not as just a pet, but as a child whom we protect. Heartworms have unfortunately become an issue for many dogs getting bitten by a single infected mosquito. Before starting any heartworm prevention treatments it is recommended that dogs, 7 months of age and older, should be tested by their veterinarian for heartworms.

What exactly are heartworms? Heartworms are parasitic roundworms that infect many animals, and have found their ideal host in dogs. Heartworms live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels which causes many respiratory issues for the dog. The parasite can undergo their entire life cycle within a dog and stay within a dog anywhere between 5 to 7 years; growing to about a foot long. It has been found that one dog can be infected with hundreds of heartworms at one time. Infection comes in different stages, and in the beginning you may not notice it at all.

There are Stages in Symptoms

  • Stage 1: In this stage, there is a possibility of there being no symptoms at all or an occasional cough.
  • Stage 2: Your dog may haveamild to moderate occasional cough and tiredness after a moderate amount of activity.
  • Stage 3: Loss of body weight, persistent cough, tiredness after mild activity, and also trouble breathing with signs of heart failure.
  • Stage 4: Caval syndrome is when a large mass of worms blocks blood flow throughout the body making it difficult for the dog to survive.

Prevention

To help prevent your dog from becoming infected, there are monthly and twice a year prescriptions that can be administered by your veterinarian. Consulting your pet’s veterinarian about year-round prevention is the key to protecting your dog from becoming infected with heartworms. There are two types of prescriptions that can be administered to your pet; chewable oral tablets or injections under the skin every 6 months.

Treatment

  • Medications: All medications must be administered by a veterinarian. In worse situations surgery may be an option to assure the elimination of the parasite within a dog.
  • Exercise restriction: Since the worms are living within the heart and lungs of the dog, exercising such as long walks outside, playing catch or any high energy movement will be very difficult for the dog to breath.

Severe problems after heartworm treatment

  • Dog may begin to cough or become worse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weak, lethargic, or collapses
  • Appetite significantly decreases
  • Vomits or drools excessively or develops diarrhea

Protecting your member of the family against such a parasite can be a matter between life and death. The simplest and most effective thing you can do is to prevent mosquitoes before they get to your pet. We recommend following the 7 T’s for mosquito control to assist you in all of your preventative measures to help guard your home.

Do you have pets that you need to protect? The Mosquito Squad’s barrier treatment kills up to 90% of mosquitoes and ticks. Get started on your free estimate today!