How Dogs Get Heartworm?
Whether you’re curious about how dogs get heartworm or are merely interested in preventing it, you’ll want to learn about the symptoms of heartworm disease.
Although heartworm infection in dogs is a frightening affliction, the best way to prevent it is by administering preventative medication. Heartworm medication for dogs comes in the form of an injectable medicine, which is given once a year or every six months.
Oral heartworm medication is also available, but must be administered on a monthly basis.
Mosquitoes are the culprits
The life cycle of heartworm disease involves the mosquito. Mosquitoes carry the parasite from one animal to another, and this is the main reason why dogs are susceptible to heartworm disease. About 30 species of mosquitoes can transmit heartworm disease, and the female mosquito bites your dog to bring it home.
Microfilariae, the infective larvae, develop inside the mosquito during a blood meal. As the mosquito moves through your dog’s blood stream, they develop into adult heartworms and mature in the dog’s heart.
While it might seem unlikely, heartworm is more widespread than once thought, and it is now present in parts of the country where veterinarians rarely see it.
It has been linked to climate change, new construction and commercial irrigation. While it is difficult to treat once a dog has contracted the disease, mosquitoes are the most common cause of heartworm. Because mosquitoes are so widespread, it’s important to protect your dog from getting infected with heartworm if you can.
Melarsomine kills adult heartworms
Melarsomine, a synthetic arsenical drug, kills adult heartworms in dogs when given intramuscularly. This drug kills heartworm larvae and adult worms that have reached the susceptible stage.
According to current guidelines, melarsomine is most effective and safest for adult heartworm treatment in dogs, and is used to prevent infection in older dogs. However, the drug is a powerful antiparasitic and can cause adverse reactions, including liver toxicity.
There are several protocols for administering melarsomine. Two injections kill 90% of adult heartworms. A third injection kills up to 98% of adult worms. The American Heartworm Society recommends the three-dose protocol for all heartworm disease cases. The three-dose protocol reduces the risk of adverse reactions and provides an increased safety profile.
However, if you’re unsure about the best method for your dog, consult your veterinarian.
Treatment is risky
There are numerous risks associated with treating dogs for heartworm disease. The disease can lead to serious heart and lung problems. It is recommended to confine active dogs to a single room when being treated.
If a dog exhibits symptoms of heartworm disease, special sedatives should be administered to calm them. Some dogs may require therapy as well. It is important to treat a dog as soon as possible for the best results.
A veterinarian may prescribe an oral heartworm medication, such as ivermectin or milbemycin, as well as a topical spot-on medicine.
Holistic veterinarians prefer oral monthly medications because they only remain in a dog’s system for a few days, making them safer for dogs than other medications. The dosage needed for preventing infection is 1/30 of the dose needed for treating parasitic diseases in dogs.
Prevention is difficult
While heartworm disease in dogs is relatively easy to prevent, it’s far more expensive and complex to treat. Heartworm can be transmitted to dogs by a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes cannot be identified by sight, so prevention is critical.
Heartworm larvae are transferred to dogs through a mosquito bite and develop into adult heartworms, which cause your dog to suffer serious health problems. Heartworm prevention in dogs is a relatively simple process, and different types of preventative products are available, from monthly pills to topical creams.
The treatment of heartworm is expensive, and it can also cause serious side effects. Melarsomine injections are given into the muscles on either side of the spine.
This treatment is often painful for your dog, and it is important to note that abscesses can form at the injection sites. Left untreated, heartworms can lead to lung disease, heart failure, and organ damage. Prevention is the best cure for heartworm in dogs.
We hope you enjoyed this article… What are your thoughts?
Please feel free to share this article or comment in the section below.