Heartworm and Your Dog. What You Need To Know.
Despite major awareness on heartworm infections, thousands of dogs continue being infected each year. However, these heartworm infections would have been prevented if people had some knowledge about these heartworms.
Habitat – Heartworms first entered the country along the Gulf of Mexico but now all the 50 states have cases of infections. These results when people move from place to place with their dogs which may be carrying the infections.
Dog tests – Since any dog can be infected, it is advisable to always take your dog for annual tests. To add on that, they should be given monthly preventives which are very effective and affordable.
Heartworm reservoirs – The major reservoir host for heartworms are coyotes and also stray dogs. It is, therefore, necessary to do away with coyotes and stray dogs where you live.
Mode of transmission – Mosquitoes are known to transmit a lot of diseases, one of them being heartworms. Since they are all year round insects that have the capability to multiply faster, measures to control them should be taken immediately and always.
Climate – Due to the changes in environment and climate, the initial triggers have been becoming less effective in fighting heartworms keeping in mind that mosquitoes are an all year round insects. Therefore, preventive measures should always be taken throughout the year.
Body size – The heartworms larvae are microscopic but once they get into your dog’s lungs, they can grow up to over a foot long. This causes severe devastation to an infected dog as the heartworms start to multiply.
Treatment – Though an infection is hard to cure, the treatment involves injection of certain chemicals and partly antibiotics which require weeks or even months of exercise restriction to your dogs.
Preventive measures – All the preventives belong to the Macrocyclic lactones group of drugs and are all similar in action. They act by preventing maturation of the immature heartworms. They should be administered once per month throughout the year.
Additional preventive measures – Since mosquitoes are a mode of transmission, measures to eliminate them should be put in place such as clearing stagnant water around our neighborhood.