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Myths And Facts: Regarding Heartworms In Dogs And Mammals

By Author: Carol Peter
Total Articles: 52

Dogs are prone to different kinds of diseases if taken for granted and one of the most concerned issues is heartworm in dogs. The disease is easy to prevent but quite costly and difficult to cure. Therefore, a recent question and answer session with a renowned Heartworm specialist helped us understand the facts and myths regarding heartworm prevention for dogs.

How does the disease spread?

Other than a bite of an infected mosquito, there are no ways dogs get heartworms and there is no way to know if a mosquito is infected. A single bite of heartworm larvae carrier mosquito can give a dog heartworm disease. This makes prevention, vital.

With time, the disease is spreading in different parts of the world and if you have mosquitoes and mammals, you’re going to have heartworms.

Once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, it takes seven months for the larvae to mature into heartworms. Once the adult heartworms are incurred, they start spreading and reproducing in the heart, lungs, and nearby blood vessels. A worm lives for 5-7 years and grows up to 12 inches and a dog can house around 250 worms in its system.

Does dog heartworms infect human?

This specific parasite affects dogs, ferrets, cats and other mammals. In a rare case, infects people as it does not complete its life cycle, so the heartworm migrates to lungs causing a round lesion alike tumor. It’s a rare phenomenon!

Is the disease communicable?

The straight answer is NO because it only gets transmitted through infected mosquito bite. Again, if a mosquito in the same night bites an infected dog, then, an uninfected dog the parasite wouldn’t transmit to the other. As the heartworm undergo incubation process in the mosquito to make it a carrier. Therefore, simple cleaning and sanitation can prove to be the best heartworm prevention for dogs.

If ones heartworm is treated, can a dog get them again?

The chances are quite high, therefore the proverb – “prevention is better than cure” becomes a must follow.

It is said the treatment for heartworms is dangerous. Are there any secure alternatives available?

Initially, plain arsenic was used to treat the animals, which stacked a huge number of side effects. But now improved medication are available that qualifies the quintessential health standards and has fewer side effects.

What are the signs and symptoms of heartworms in a dog?

The dog will start behaving inactive and lethargic, suffer dry coughing, weight loss, gain change in breathing pattern, have bulging chest, become prone to allergic reactions and might collapse sometimes.

What are the heartworm prevention methods for dogs?

The infection could become fatal for the dog as well as the owner. The prevention will cost very less in comparison to the cure. For prevention, monthly chewable pills, topicals, and a six-month injectable course will be enough with hygiene and sanitization.

How much will the cure treatment cost, if a dog has heartworms?

Immiticides are used to treat this disease, which is an arsenic-based injectable product. The drug helps in killing the adult heartworms in the blood vessels of the heart. The treatment will include blood tests, X-rays and other required tests to understand the degree of infection. Taking all of them into account, the treatment will cost high!

The aforementioned points will help in understanding the total cycle of heartworms and will also help prevent the disease. The ultimate conclusion that can be gained from the entire context is preventing your dogs and mammals from mosquito bites. And this can be done by keeping your environment neat and clean.

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