Heartworm is a dangerous condition that affects dogs, and it can be very painful for your pet. If you think your dog has been affected by heartworm, it’s important to follow a veterinarian’s orders carefully. You can do many things at home to treat heartworm in dogs, but only if you know what symptoms to look out for and how fast they need to be treated.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, around 890,000 cases of heartworm were recorded in dogs, which rose to around 1 million dogs in 2019. Mississippi accounts for the most number of cases, with approximately 10% of dogs being found to be infected with heartworm.
However, the nine states following Mississippi are also from the south. Hence, if you are from the southern US states, you must practice extra caution for your dogs to prevent this deadly disease.
Here are six ways you can help cure your dog of this serious disease:
Restrict Your Dog from Engaging in Physical Activity.
Heartworm is a disease that affects the heart and lungs. It is transmitted from an infected dog to a dog via mosquito bites and can be fatal if left untreated.
You should restrict your dog from engaging in physical activity. If your dog has heartworm, it will suffer fatigue and shortness of breath due to the thickening of its blood caused by the parasite’s presence. Your dog may also be more susceptible to infection because of its weakened immune system.
The best way to avoid these symptoms is by keeping your pet indoors until they are treated for heartworm. Take extra precautions so they do not come into contact with other infected dogs.
It means not going outside without supervision or bringing other animals inside your home, including cats, even if they are vaccinated against this disease before coming over too close.
Heartworm disease rarely gets transmitted between animals on its own. A report from VCA Hospitals states that the disease cannot transit itself within animals, but a mosquito can transmit it between dogs and cats. However, heartworm is more common in dogs when compared to cats, with only 5-20% of cats having heartworm diseases compared to dogs.
Administer Heartworm Medications.
If your dog is diagnosed with heartworm, you will need to administer heartworm medication. Heartworm medication is available as a pill or liquid. The most common form of heartworm medication, Heartgard Plus, is given once a month, usually for the rest of your dog’s life. Heartworm medications can be given with or without food and water.
It’s important to give these medications at least 30 minutes before meals or exercise so that they are not delayed in their absorption into the body. In addition, heartworm medications should be given on an empty stomach for maximum absorption.
Pay Extra Attention to Your Dog’s Food Intake.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to your dog’s nutritional needs. As a general rule, you should pay attention to your dog’s weight and avoid overfeeding it. If your dog is overweight, reduce its food intake by as much as 20 percent. If your pet is underweight, increase its food intake by 25 percent.
In addition to these general guidelines for healthy weight maintenance, certain foods, like sugar, can be harmful to dogs with heartworm disease. It’s best not to give them any human food or treats during treatment and recovery. These substances may contain ingredients that could worsen symptoms if ingested too frequently. However, if you feed human foods during this period, ensure they’re made without added sugar.
Equip Your Pet with a Harness.
You must equip your pet with a harness. A harness is safer than a collar because it puts less pressure on the dog’s neck and throat. However, if a collar is too tight, it could choke your dog or make him uncomfortable enough to try to escape or hurt himself. It can also lead to tangles in his fur due to its long length. Finally, if he tries leaping around during playtime or running off after something, such as squirrels, his collar might get caught on something and cause discomfort or injury.
A harness will keep these problems at bay because it is designed to distribute weight properly across the body while allowing room for expansion. In addition, they can help prevent dogs from escaping by keeping them close beside you no matter what time of year it may be outside.
Keep Your Dog Indoors During Mosquito Season.
On a more serious note, there are some other things you can do to help protect your pet from mosquito bites. You should keep your dog indoors during mosquito season. A report by MosquitoNix states that there are around 3,500 different species of mosquitoes that dominate different seasons based on regions which are as follows:
- Hawaii, Florida, and Gulf Coast – February to November
- Southwest and South – March to September
- West, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic – April to September
- Pacific Northwest, Northern Midwest, and New England – May to September
If that’s not an option for you, then at the very least, keep your dog indoors during the daytime when mosquitoes are most active. If this is not possible, consider keeping your dog indoors at night or at all times of the day. Take these extra precautions to prevent exposure to heartworm-infected mosquitos and ensure they are protected from this disease as much as possible.
Call an Emergency Vet As Soon As Possible.
Getting treatment as soon as possible is important if your dog is diagnosed with heartworm. Heartworm can be fatal if not treated. The longer a dog has heartworm, the more severe its symptoms will be, and the chances of death increase.
If your dog has been diagnosed with heartworm, schedule an appointment with an emergency vet immediately. Make sure they know what type of heartworm it has so they can prescribe proper medications that won’t harm your pet or even kill them.
Heartworm is a Dangerous Condition That Needs to be Taken Care of Quickly.
It’s important to treat your dog as soon as possible if you suspect he or she has heartworm. The longer you wait, the more damage it can cause and the harder it will be to treat your pet.
To prevent heartworms from spreading to other animals or humans, keep your dog away from any other animals that may have been infected by heartworm. You should also prevent infection by washing your hands thoroughly after handling your pet.
Heartworm is a serious disease in dogs, but it can be treated. The most important thing you can do is to ensure your dog gets tested at least once a year and take your pet to the vet immediately if they have symptoms of heartworm.
Heartworm is an infection caused by worms called Dirofilaria immitis that enter through the skin of dogs and cats. It’s transmitted when infected mosquitoes bite them, so keeping your dog on flea control is helpful.