In our previous blog post, we talked about the dangers of canine parvovirus and the benefits of getting your dog vaccinated. Now, we turn our attention to another common yet deadly disease—heartworm. This potentially fatal disease is difficult to cure, but it is easy to prevent. Here is everything you need to know to keep your dachshund safe from heartworm:
What is heartworm disease?
Also known as dirofilariasis, heartworm disease is caused by a parasite known as Dirofilaria immitis. When a dog is bit from an infected mosquito, the worms spread throughout the body, particularly targeting the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Inside a dog, a heartworm can live for up to 5 to 7 years, meaning it can take several years for symptoms to show.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of heartworm disease:
- Mild, persistent cough
- Reluctant to exercise
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Swollen belly
- Heart failure
- Fatigue after moderate activity
Can heartworm be treated?
Heartworm can be treated, but it is costly and difficult to do so. If caught in time, a dog will be administered a few injectable drugs that will kill the adult heartworms. While these drugs are effective, they can lead to serious complications such as blood clots in the dog’s lungs.
How can you prevent heartworm disease?
While heartworm disease can be difficult to cure, it is easy to prevent. Monthly pills or topical ointments can keep the disease at bay. Additionally, there are six-month injectable products that are equally as effective at preventing heartworm disease. These prevention treatments can be administered by yourself or by your veterinarian.