Blog How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Heartworms?
A dog that is not protected from heartworm disease is at risk for a serious and potentially fatal condition. Heartworms are spread through the bites of mosquitos that carry the infective heartworm larvae and severity is directly dependent upon the number of worms present in the body, how long they’ve been there and the response of the dog’s body.
But HOW do you know if your dog has heartworms already? Early-stage symptoms include:
Also a sign of kennel cough, a mild cough could be the first stage of heartworms. If your dog is coughing and has been around other dogs recently it’s recommended to take him in for a check up. He may only have kennel cough, but it’s best to be safe. The early stages of heartworms are the easiest to fight off.
Your dog may become easily winded. A decrease in your dog’s physical activity level can tell you that he may have heartworms. If he goes to laydown instead of fetching his favorite toy then it’s highly suggested you take him to the vet.
Your dog may be eating his breakfast and dinner every day but appears to be losing weight. If he appears to be losing weight on top of a cough then take him to the vet right away. Your dog may also have jaundice where he would lose weight due to lack of appetite. This is another sign of heartworms that cannot be neglected.
The most common and best way to prevent heartworms is through medicine. With the choice between ointments and pills, there are plenty of options to choose from. Both should cost you around $100 a year depending on the size of your dog. Some of the most common brands for prevention are Heartgard, Sentinel, and Trifexis. DO NOT give your dog any heartworm prevention medicine without first consulting with your vet. Your vet has all of your dog’s health records on file so they will know which medicine of the ones available to prescribed your dog.
$100 a year is a small price to pay when you consider the dangers of heartworms to your dog. It’s also a very small price to pay when you see how much the treatment of heartworms can be, not to mention the treatment may not even be guaranteed to work depending on how developed the heartworms is.
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