Canine heart worms and your dogs health

With Spring and Summer just around the bend, we need to address a commonly overlooked health problem for your pet, that of canine heart worms. While heart worms is one of the most devastating bugs that might threaten your dog, the biggest concern is that many pet owners do not know how these parasites are contracted, how they are spread, and how to get rid of them.

Canine heart worms are not spread from dog to dog simply by contact, but are mostly transferred through contaminated blood being passed around by mosquitoes. Once heart worms are injected by the mosquito into the dog’s blood stream, they travel through the blood stream into the heart and the major pulmonary blood vessels. The number of dogs that become infected with heart worms always increases during the height of mosquito season, and unfortunately the mosquito seasons have been getting worse each year as well.

There are different stages of heart worm development, juvenile and adult. As the heart worms grow from juvenile to adult, they will start to cause damage to the heart and surrounding tissues and can even block or clog major arteries and blood vessels. When these clogs form the blood flow to other organs is reduced. This may cause problems for the liver, kidneys and lungs, leading to organ failure.

Sadly, by the time the illness starts to show signs in the dog, it is in the advanced stage. Several factors that affect these signs are, the quantity and location of the worms, how much damage has been done, and the length of time being infected. The most noticeable outward appearance of heart worms is a sudden and unexplained weight reduction in your pet

Symptoms of canine heart worm infestations are often worse after your dog exercises. These include shortness of breath, loss of stamina, nervousness, or sudden fainting.

There are treatments available for canine heart worms, but these can be quite expensive and could have some serious side effects. Heart worms can often be preventable by administering heart worm medicine to your pet every month. To stop this terrible illness in your dog, be certain to keep your dog’s regular vet appointments.

As usual, talk to your vet if you have any worries that your dog might have heart worms, and never attempt to treat the illness on your own. Always consult a properly qualified pro before beginning any sort of treatments on your dog.