Though a lot of various different animals can be greatly affected by contracting the dreaded disease we call by heartworm. Dogs are one of the most usual and perhaps most common targets that fall victim to such a condition. But what exactly is heartworm and why is there all this hype about keeping your dogs safe from this disease? You may wonder, is it really that fatal? The answer is, it depends. You see, heartworm, which is formally known by its scientific name Dirofilaria immitis, is a condition brought about by small parasites that often infect their host and make their way all throughout its bloodstream. All of this starts from a single mosquito or insect bite which leaves this worm like parasites to grow inside the body of the host, an example of which is your dog, for roughly about seven months until they develop and mature enough to cause damage to the heart where these parasites will reside. If left untreated for a considerable number of months, then sadly such condition will lead to your dog’s untimely demise.
Unfortunately, a very sad reality regarding heartworm is that it is quite common among dogs and therefore a lot more difficult if at all possible to detect. The symptoms of this infection are very subtle and are not that apparent until the disease has reached a much progressed stage wherein cure would be quite challenging if at all possible. In this case, the saying ‘prevention is far better than cure’ most definitely holds true. Hence, it would be very crucial and early detection just might be what saves your dog’s life. Or better yet, you can just as well protect your dog from becoming infected with a monthly precautionary treatment recommended by your trusted veterinarian, who will be a very valuable partner in safekeeping and monitoring your dog’s health and overall well being most especially in treating heartworm.
During a standard check up, your dog’s vet will firstly draw some blood from your dog. This is for a standard blood test in order to see whether or not heartworm or other such parasites have taken hold and is starting to build a community within your dog’s system. This process is very important because as discussed earlier, it would be very hard to keep track of symptoms and signs that your dog is in fact infected. If unfortunately when the blood test results come in and your dog is tested positive for such condition, it is then that the long and periodic treatment would take place. Depending on the situation and the severity of the case, some dogs which might have had the condition for a longer period of time might need more aggressive treatments and in the worst of cases, a surgical procedure might even be recommended or prescribed. After which, a specific amount or dosage of maintenance will be required. On the other hand, should your dog’s test results return with negative findings for heartworm, you can rest assured that your dog is out of immediate harm’s way.