Chances are, you have actually gone to a minimum of one veterinary workplace that plainly showed a photo or drawing of a canine heart infested with heartworms. This gruesome image shows what can take place to your dog when the spaghetti-like worms block his heart.
As a dog owner, you’re probably familiar with the risks of heartworm disease, and I hope you are taking precautions to avoid it. However beyond glaring in scary at the poster in the vet’s examining room, have you ever considered what’s involved in dealing with heartworm? Believe me, it’s not an easy matter for your dog or for you.
Pre-Adult Heartworm Treatment
As soon as your dog is detected with heartworm disease, your vet may recommend a course of antibiotics, heartworm preventives and steroids before starting the real adult worm treatment.
Antibiotics may be recommended due to the fact that a bacterium found living inside the heartworms– Wolbachia– is believed to add to an inflammatory reaction within the body. When the heartworms die, they release the bacteria into the dog’s body. Scientists think the existence of Wolbachia may cause the body to install an immune response that could worsen not just the heartworm disease but likewise the lung and kidney swelling seen in dogs with this condition.
For this reason, numerous veterinarians start treatment by recommending doxycycline, based on appealing arise from published research studies of doxycycline use in dogs infected with heartworms.
Because the heartworm treatment just kills adult worms, vets may prescribe a regular monthly heartworm preventive to kill the smaller larvae before initiating adult heartworm treatment.
The administration of corticosteroids at the very same time as the antibiotics and heartworm preventive likewise helps reduce inflammation.
How To Treat Heartworm Disease In Dogs
Once your dog has actually completed the course of steroids, heartworm preventive and antibiotics, he should be ready to start the real adult heartworm treatment. The treatment for heartworm disease takes a minimum of 60 days to finish and consists of a series of drug injections that kills the worms. There is just one drug authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to kill adult heartworms in dogs, an organic arsenical compound that is injected into the dog’s lumbar, or back, muscles.
On the days injections are given, your dog needs to stay in the medical facility for observation to make sure he does not have any major responses to the treatment. Your vet might also recommend a tapering dose of steroids for a time period following the injections.
However, wait, there’s more! Your dog ought to be retested after treatment and 6 months later on to make sure that of the larvae, microfilariae and adult worms are dead. Dogs who stay heartworm positive 6 months after treatment may have to repeat treatment to eliminate the staying worms.
During and Post-surgery Periods
Throughout treatment and for numerous weeks later, your dog’s activity level must be limited. Pieces of dead worms can obstruct blood circulation through pulmonary vessels and intensify the inflammatory action; excessive workout increases blood circulation to blocked areas, causing blood vessels to burst as the body tries to pump blood through the obstructed vessels. This heightens the likelihood of problems, such as coughing, breathing problems and unexpected death. Due to the fact that of this, a highly active dog with only a little number of heartworms is more likely to develop serious heartworm disease-associated signs than a dog with many heartworms who’s a lazy-bones.
To minimize the threat of problems, it’s necessary that you restrict exercise for the entire time your dog is going through treatment and for an amount of time later. Depending on the severity of the damage brought on by the heartworms, this can suggest complete confinement in a cage except for potty walks on leash or very little activity in the home, with just quick walks on leash and crating when nobody exists to monitor his activity and make certain he remains calm.
Your veterinarian will let you understand when your dog can resume normal activity levels.
When Surgery May Be Necessary
Not every case of heartworm disease can be treated clinically; often the worms are discovered not just in the heart but likewise in a big vein called the caudal vena cava, situated between the liver and the heart. Because circumstance, surgical elimination of worms might be needed.
Luckily, drug treatment for dogs with heartworm disease is generally successful, especially if the dog has only moderate signs of disease. A dog with more extreme heartworm disease can also recuperate, however he runs a greater danger of complications as well as death. For these reasons, the best remedy of all is prevention. Ask your veterinarian about your dog’s risk level and make certain you’re doing whatever you can to stop heartworm disease prior to it starts.
Limited Activity in Dog after Treatment Procedures
During treatment and for numerous weeks later, your dog’s activity level must be limited. Pieces of dead worms can obstruct blood flow through pulmonary vessels and aggravate the inflammatory action; too much workout increases blood circulation to blocked areas, causing capillaries to burst as the body attempts to pump blood through the obstructed vessels. This increases the probability of complications, such as coughing, breathing problems and unexpected death. Due to the fact that of this, a highly active dog with just a small number of heartworms is more likely to establish severe heartworm disease-associated signs than a dog with lots of heartworms who’s a lazy-bones.
To minimize the risk of complications, it’s important that you limit workout for the entire time your dog is going through treatment and for a period of time afterward. Depending on the severity of the damage triggered by the heartworms, this can suggest total confinement in a dog crate except for potty walks on leash or very little activity in the home, with just quick walks on leash and crating when nobody is there to monitor his activity and make certain he remains calm.
Your vet will let you understand when your dog can resume regular activity levels.
Heartworm Disease & Surgery
Not every case of heartworm disease can be dealt with clinically; in some cases the worms are discovered not only in the heart however likewise in a large vein called the caudal vena cava, located between the liver and the heart. In that circumstance, surgical elimination of worms may be essential.
Thankfully, drug treatment for dogs with heartworm disease is generally effective, specifically if the dog has only moderate signs of disease. A dog with more severe heartworm disease can also recover, however he runs a greater risk of complications and even death. For these factors, the best cure of all is avoidance. Ask your veterinarian about your dog’s risk level and make certain you’re doing whatever you can to stop heartworm disease before it starts.